ARDSLEY – It was the unluckiest of bounces for Luke Feehan.
The defending Westchester Amateur champion is customarily seeded No. 1 and plays the last man into the field in the first round. And that just happened to be a James McHugh this year.
McHugh came in with ridiculous momentum. The soon to be senior at Rye won the Section 1 Tournament for the second year in a row and over the weekend captured the New York State Federation title on the Black Course at Bethpage State Park.
Basically, he’s not the average No. 32 seed.
“I’d pretty much rather play anyone else in the field,” said Feehan, a 25-year-old Mahopac Golf Club member who is working for the family insurance business. “That’s match play for you.”
McHugh was not in perfect form, but he played well enough to send Feehan back to work, posting a 4-and-2 win Tuesday at Ardsley Country Club.
“I definitely felt the way I was coming in that I could beat anyone in the field,” McHugh said. “I didn’t feel like the 32nd seed. I just had a really tough day at the qualifier.”
McHugh actually just made one regrettable swing at Knollwood.
The reigning Met Junior champion sent a ball that was in a very awkward spot in a fairway bunker out of bounds and took a triple bogey late in the qualifying round. He was the first alternate for the championship and eventually got into the field when a player withdrew.
Feehan was up early, but was scrambling most of the day.
“We both were in trouble off the tee on the fifth hole,” said McHugh, who is playing out of GlenArbor Golf Club this summer. “I ended up in a greenside bunker and needed to get up and down. I blasted out to within a foot and he gave me the putt. He chipped from off the green to withing 6 or 7 feet and missed the putt coming back. It was a big moment, getting back to all-square, then I won a couple of holes. It’s always nice to play from in front where you’re not always fighting to get back in the match.”
Feehan struggled to match the magic.
“James was getting up and down from places where he should’ve been dead,” the former New York State Amateur Champion said. “He was able to hole out for birdie at No. 8 from a really tough spot. It was a tough draw.”
That one stung a little.
“I ended up on the right side of the green near a sand trap,” McHugh said. “When I first got up to my ball, I was disappointed it wasn’t in the sand. I was on a bare spot and the stance was uneven, but the shot came off perfectly. It hopped, checked and rolled into the front of the cup for birdie.”
They halved the ninth, then McHugh won 10 and 11.
Feehan got closer, winning the 14th, but he three-putted up the hill at the 16th and shook hands with McHugh, who dropped an 8-foot putt for par.
“I still haven’t felt comfortable hitting the ball here,” he said after grabbing a quick bite of lunch and heading for the driving range. “I’m still able to score, and hopefully I’ll figure it out.”
He did just fine in the Round of 16, dispatching Al Tenembaum of Rockland Country Club 4 and 3.
97th WGA Amateur Championship
at Ardsley Country Club
Round of 32
James McHugh (GlenArbor) d. Luke Feehan 4 and 2; Al Tenembaum d. Eric Terminello (Knollwood) by default; George Miller (St. Andrew’s) d. Chris Coco (Westchester) 2 and 1; Josh Goldenberg (Fenway) d. Matt Stewart (Westchester Hills) 4 and 3; Drake Ferriter (Winged Foot) d. Michael Palmer (Rye) 3 and 2; Owen Elliott (MGA Eclub-NYC) d. James Nicholas (Westchester) 2-up; Michael Karger (Century) d. Russell Giglio (MGA Eclub-West.) 4 and 3; Lee Hammerschmidt (Whippoorwill) d. Patrick Mainey (Powelton) 22 holes; Matt Minerva (Hudson National) d. Daniel Gittings (Wykagyl) 5 nd 4; Rob Johnson (Dutchess) d. Erik Jaffe (Baird) 2 up; Gray Barnes (Centennial) d. Doug Saidenberg (Metropolis) 3 and 2; Michael Leder (Old Oaks) d. Paul Terminello (Knollwood) 3 and 2; Germay Medina (Pelham Bay/Split Tock) d. Thomas Corrigan (Ardsley) 2 and 1; Christian Cavaliere (Mahopac) d. Eric Berridge (Wykagyl) 4 and 3; Jonny Emmerman (Fenway) d. Patrick Pierson (Hollow Brook) 4 and 3; Brian Krex (Whippoorwill) d. John Mikus (Pelham Bay/Split Rock) 4 and 3.
Round of 16
McHugh d. Tenembaum 4 and 3; Goldenberg d. Miller 2 and 1; Elliott d. Ferriter 2 and 1; Karger d. Hammerschmidt 19 holes; Johnson d. Minerva 4 and 3; Barnes d. Leder 1-up; Medina d. Cavaliere 19 holes; Emmerman d. Krex 4 nd 3;
Round of 16
Richard Feldman (Centennial) d. Frank Geiger (MGA eClub –W/Ct) 3 and 1; Herrol Pryce (Baychester) d. Peter Rymer (Spook Rock) 1-up; Jack Kiernan (Stanwich) d. Tom Fox (Apawamis) 3 and 2; Bruce Crystal (Salem) d. David Braham (Whippoorwill) 2-up; Jim Romaniello (Shorehaven) d. Jeff Reissman (Hollow Brook) 21 holes; Jon Groveman (Connecticut) d. Randall Keleher (Sterling Farms) 5 and 4; Philip Halpern (Westchester) d. Gary Rendlesham (Old Oaks) 6 and 5.
Pryce d. Feldman 20 holes; Kiernan d. Crystal 4 and 2; Pike d. Romaniello 2 and 1; Groveman d. Halpern 4 and 3.
Shawn McLoughlin (Ridgewood) d. Hugh Shevlin (Scarsdale) 5 and 4; Rick Blank (Metropolis) d. Lawrence Friedlander (Sterling Farms) 5 and 4; Rick Lawrence (Ridgewood) d. Jeffrey Pomerantz (Links at Union Vale) 5 and 4; Jim Hamburger (McCann) d. Russ Sirico (Lake Isle) 3 and 2.