RYE, N.Y. -- Rye golfer James McHugh claimed his first career Metropolitan Golf Association title at the 98th Met Junior.
McHugh defeated defeating James Nicholas in the championship match on Thursday at Paramount, 5 & 4.
A par and a birdie on the first two holes quickly earned McHugh a 2-up advantage, but Nicholas’ par on the third trimmed the lead back to one in the early going.
Three pars in a four-hole span were good enough to extend McHugh’s lead to 4-up through eight holes. Nicholas, who will attend Yale in the fall, then won the par-3 ninth with a par, making McHugh’s advantage 3-up on the turn.
The 17-year-old continued the steady play though, and pars once again earned McHugh wins on the 11th and 12th holes, extending the lead to 5-up. Two more pars sealed the 5 & 4 victory.
Despite not playing a practice round before competition, McHugh was able to quickly adapt to the testy greens of the A.W. Tillinghast course. “The greens were very firm and fast, with a lot of break and were very challenging,” said McHugh. “I consider myself a pretty good putter and I was able to putt pretty well.”
McHugh has had a strong summer already — including a top-20 finish at the Ike — and will look to continue his quality play with a busy schedule for the remainder of the summer. But, for now, he is letting this victory soak in.
“I’m so honored. The MGA is such a great organization—it’s so prestigious and there’s always such a strong field in these events. I’m very honored to win this.”
McHugh, who never trailed in a single match this week, advanced to the championship with a 3 & 2 victory over Ethan Ng in the morning semifinal.
The championship is open to juniors who have not started attending college, and are not yet 19 by July 29 and who reside in the MGA territory. Players advancing to the round of 16 will now receive an invitation to the Carter Cup, the MGA’s junior stroke play championship, at Baltusrol Golf Club on July 29.