Cummings holds off Colella to win State Boys' Sub-Junior title
HAMILTON – Jude Cummings needed a break.
Cummings’ lead was just one stroke over Shawn Colella with one hole remaining in the 59th New York State Boys’ Amateur. The 14-year-old from Pittsford received the bounce he needed on the 504-yard par-5 18th and converted it into a closing birdie for a two-stroke victory over Colella to capture the title on a beautiful Wednesday at Seven Oaks Golf Course.
Cummings finished with a two-day total of 147 (73-74). Colella (75-74) finished two back and Samuel Taylor, who played in the final group with Cummings and Colella closed strong and finished at 150 (76-74) for solo third.
Leading by a stroke over Colella and three clear of Taylor, Cummings pulled his tee ball left and immediately squatted to the ground with his head down.
“I thought ... I just lost the tournament,” Cummings said.
His tee ball flirted with the out of bounds that lines the left side of the hole, but ended up inside the boundary by eight feet.
Cummings then took advantage of the break, by laying up to the middle of the fairway and hitting a beautiful pitching wedge to within four feet.
“I was just thinking to myself ‘there’s a large slope in the middle of the green, so just aim for that’,” Cummings said. “I hit it perfectly and it trickled down to the hole.”
After Colella’s long birdie attempt skirted the left edge of the hole, all Cummings had to do was two-putt for the title. However, he ended like a champion and knocked home a closing birdie.
“I had 140 in and hit a nine iron, said Cummings, who also made eagle on the par-4 6th during the first round. “It hit short and just rolled in. … another clutch eagle.”
Colella played even-par on his back nine and could’ve been even better as several putts challenged the hole, but narrowly missed.
“Going into the back nine I was five down,” Colella said. “I ended up getting three strokes back, but fell just short. I thought I kept my composure and didn’t let the pressure get to me. I left a few shots out there, but more than anything, I’m very happy with my round.”
Cummings knew he was in for a fight to the finish.
“(Colella’s) a very good player,” Cummings said. “I knew that I had to make pars, but I started missing putts and let it get to my head. But I bounced back a little at the end, and I’m proud of that.”
Cummings led Colella by five strokes after 10 holes. However, Cummings’ putter went ice cold and his lead dwindled rapidly. After making double bogey on the par-3 11th, his lead was down to four. Colella made a nice up-and-down for birdie on the par-5 12th to shave another stroke off Cummings’ lead. Both players parred the par-4 13th, but Cummings let his competition back into contention with a three-putt from five feet for a damaging double bogey on the par-3 14th.
Colella made a par on the 14th to move a shot off the lead, while Taylor made birdie to pull within four of Cummings. Colella then pulled even on the par-5 15th as Cummings lipped-out his short par putt and made bogey.
Cummings regained the advantage on the par-4 16th as Colella caught a flyer out of the right rough and left himself a tough up-and-down and was unable to save par. Cummings then converted a tough two-putt for par to set up the dramatic finish.
Taylor was also in it until the final hole and remained proud of his finish, especially the way he didn’t quit after a double bogey on the 12th dropped him seven shots back with six holes remaining.
“I just played my game all day,” said Taylor, who nearly missed a putt for eagle on the No. 18. “I thought I played pretty well. The 12th hole hurt me a lot, but I kept battling back because anything can happen.”
Colella was also pleased with his performance and noted the progress he’s made.
“I’m happy with the way I played,” Colella said. “My first year I played I was nine and finished second to last. Now I finished second. Next year, I’m planning to win.”
Jimin Jung shot 73 Wednesday to finish at 151 and in fourth place. Luke Stanley (152), Matthew Jackson (155), Ian Wagner (157), Jacob Staggert (159), Ryan Hart (159) and Tyler Thomas (161) rounded out the top 10.
The Boys’ Division winners included, Taylor (14); Jung (13); and Punn Chittaratlert (12-Under).
All the players hope they can accomplish what Cummings did this week at Seven Oaks. It’s a prestigious victory for all young players.
“This means a lot,” Cummings said. “Last year, I played awful in the first round and was out of it. I told myself then, ‘you are going to win this next year.’ That was my goal and I did it.”
-Nick Sardina – Mid-York Sports Report