Jeff Quinney, 21, of Eugene, Ore., rolled
in a 30-foot birdie putt on the 39th hole to win the weatherdelayed championship
final match of the U.S. Amateur at Baltusrol Golf Club's Upper Course.
Quinney and James Driscoll, 22, of Brookline,
Mass., had played 38 holes the day before when play was suspended because
of darkness. Driscoll had mounted a comeback to win the last three holes
"I'm glad that one of us made a birdie to
end it and that no one made a mistake," Quinney said. "What an emotional
roller-coaster it was this week. It's unbelievable. This is the biggest
thing that's ever happened to me."
Driscoll was the first on the tee in the
morning and hit his 5-iron through the green and into the rough on the
back right of the green. Quinney followed with a 4iron to the middle of
the green. After Driscoll's speedy downhill chip went 15 feet past the
hole onto the fringe, Quinney holed the match-clinching putt.
"My lag putting is a strength for me," said
Quinney, who played the third hole eight times during the week with six
pars and a bogey before the final hole. "I was pretty confident I was
going to cozy it up there and force him to make his par putt. But fortunately
it dropped in for me. It looked great from about five feet out. I knew
it was going in."
With the victory, Quinney earned the fourth
and final berth on the U.S. team for the World Amateur Team Championship
in Berlin, Germany.
Driscoll's comeback rivaled that of Tiger
Woods, who was 2-down to Steve Scott with three holes in play in 1996
before taking holes 34 and 35 to tie before winning on the 38th hole.
On the last day (Sunday), Driscoll won hole
34 by concession and then holed an 8-footer for birdie on the par 5 35th.
He sent the match to extra holes by making a 5-footer for par on the 36th.
The two halved the first two extra holes with pars. The 39-hole match
tied for the longest final match in Amateur history with the 1950 championship
in which Sam Urzetta defeated Frank Stanahan
"Who wants to lose?," said Driscoll of his
comeback. "You're not here to give up. I just wish we could have finished
it Sunday. To get it over with would have been so much better."
A senior at Arizona State University, Quinney
won two of the first five holes with pars. He lost hole six but rebounded
with winning birdies on holes eight and nine to stand 3 up.
Driscoll picked up the pace with winning
birdies from close range on holes 10 and 13 to cut Quinney's margin to
1 up. But Quinney started Sunday afternoon with a flurry, winning the
first two holes with par, building a 4up lead, his largest margin, before
Driscoll began to fight back.
Quinney's play at the Amateur has capped
a successful summer. He won the Pacific Northwest Golf Association and
Oregon match play titles, and was runner-up at the Pacific Coast Amateur.
For Driscoll, his runner-up finish at the
Amateur adds to his list of successes at USGA championships. He was quarterfinalist
at the 1999 Amateur, where he lost to eventual champion David Gossett.
And in 1995, he was runner-up at the U.S. Junior Amateur.
The youngest of seven children, Driscoll
is a two-time Massachusetts State Amateur champion (1996 and 1998). He
also was invited to play in the PGA Tour's Pleasant Valley Classic in
the Boston area in 1998.
A first time qualifier, Quinney followed
in the footsteps of ASU alumnus Phil Mickelson, who won the Amateur in
The Amateur winner is exempt into the next
Masters, U.S. Open and British Open. The two finalists
are invited to play in the next Masters.
Quinney reached the finals with easy wins
in his first two matches before adopting a come-from-behind trademark
in his next three. He first beat Matt Weibring of Plano, Texas, 6 and
5; then Luke Glover of Greenville, S.C., 3 and 2. He overtook Ben Curtis
of Kent, Ohio, in 23 holes, and took five straight holes to edge Hunter
Mahan of McKinney, Texas, 2 and 1. He won four of the first eight holes
and then hung on to beat David Eger of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., in his
semifinal round, 3 and 1.
Driscoll never trailed beyond the ninth hole
in any of his five matches prior to the final. And he led in each from
the 13th hole forward. First he beat B.J. Staten of Dallas, Texas, 4 and
3; then David Bennett of Stowe, Vt., 2 and 1; and Richard Smith of Dresden,
Tenn., 5 and 3. He edged Jerry Courville of Milford, Conn., in his quarterfinal
match, 1 up; and outlasted Luke Donald of England in his semifinal round,
2 and 1.