RUMFORD — Arms raised as his lag putt trickled on line towards the hole, Cory Whitsett punctuated his victory in the 52nd Annual Northeast Amateur Invitational with a birdie at the last Saturday afternoon, June 22, at Wannamoisett Country Club.
Whitsett, the Houston, Texas native who led the University of Alabama to the 2013 NCAA Championship, shot a 6-under par round of 63 on the final day to finish with a winning total of 10-under, 266.
He was two better than Bo Andrews, of Raleigh, N.C., who like Whitsett sprinted up the leader board Saturday by shooting a day-best 7-under 62. Andrews wound up alone in second at 8-under, 268.
Andrews, who just completed his career at Georgia Tech, finished two groups and about 20 minutes before Whitsett, the Crimson Tide junior. Andrews played a near flawless round with no bogeys. He birdied seven holes, including five of his first six coming in. Only a par 3 at the 211-yard 12th interrupted his string.
Whitsett also made seven birdies, including one at the par 4, 444-yard 16th that proved the difference in his victory. The bird at 16 came at a clutch moment, following his only blemish on the card, a bogey at the difficult par 3, 15th.
Up one with Andrews in the house, he needed only to par his way home, but he did that one better with his effort at the last. Whitsett, a long-hitting lefty, put himself into a bit of bother by driving just through the fairway to the right on the 456-yard 18th. Any worry, however, was removed when with a wedge in hand after pumping his drive out well over 300 yards, he safely reached the green in regulation and needed just two putts to win.
His approach landed about 20 feet above the front, left pin location. Away in regards to the putt of playing partner Cameron Wilson, Whitsett ended his victory in terrific style by draining the frisky, right-to-left bender for the birdie.
Wilson, the Connecticut native and Stanford junior who shared the second round lead and remained in contention as of Saturday, stumbled to a 3-over, 72 and finished in share of fifth place with Max Homa, of Cal and the reigning NCAA Individual champ, and Todd White at 1-under, 275.
Neither player in the final pairing could get much of anything going Saturday.
Rafael Becker, the big-hitting Brazilian who had at least a share of the lead through the first three rounds, faltered badly Saturday. He started at 6-under, but ballooned to a 4-over, 73 in the last round to settle for fourth place at 2-under, 274. He bogeyed five holes during his final round. His only birdie came at the par 4, ninth.
Stanford sophomore Patrick Rodgers, of Avon, Ind., shot a 1-under 68 Saturday. He finished alone in third place at 5-under, 271.
The two locals to make the three-round cut, Coventry’s Bobby Leopold and Warwick’s Brad Valois, had mixed results Saturday.
Leopold slipped back in the final round. After keeping pace with the leaders off rounds of 66 and 70 the first two days, the member of nearby Ledgemont shot matching 73s during his final two rounds to finish in a group tied for 17th at 6-over, 282. Valois, who plays out of Metcomet in city, shot a 1-under 68 Saturday to wind up in a share of 22nd at 7-over, 283.
Valois, a three-time State Amateur champ, was in good company. Defending champion Justin Shin and the low amateur in last week’s U.S. Open at Merion, Michael Kim, also finished their Northeast at 7-over.
Only seven of the 52 players to finish the event wound up in the red. The 2013 edition of the Invitational marked the final for Denny Glass as tourney chairman. Glass directed the event the last 20 years. For final results from the 52nd Northeast Amateur click here…