Cavaliere claims 98th WGA Amateur

ARMONK, N.Y. (June 16, 2017) – Steady play throughout the championship match of the 98th WGA Amateur led Christian Cavaliere of Mahopac to his third WGA title, as he defeated Brad Tilley of Sleepy Hollow, 6-and-5, Friday at Whippoorwill Club.

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Cavaliere—winner of both the WGA Boys and Junior championships in 2012—fell behind quickly as Tilley carded a birdie-three on the first hole of the 36-hole final. Cavaliere squared the match on the fifth, but Tilley—the 2005 WGA Amateur champion who recently regained his amateur status after competing professionally for several years—reclaimed the lead with a par four on the fifth.

With overcast skies and an occasional mist falling, conditions were a stark contrast to the heat from earlier in the week and required the competitors to adjust to new speeds on the greens. Cavaliere continued his steady play, taking advantage of Tilley’s four consecutive bogeys on Nos. 8-11 to flip a one-hole deficit to a 3-up advantage.

“I tried my best to keep it in front of me,” Cavaliere said of his plan to keep mistakes to a minimum around the demanding Whippoorwill layout. “My wedge play really held me together—I hit a lot of great wedges and that was definitely the strength this week.”

The two traded wins on Nos. 13 and 14, while Tilley birdied the par-3 17th to make Cavaliere’s lead two holes at the halfway mark.

After just one birdie in the morning round, Cavaliere made two early in the afternoon, including a tap-in on the par-3 fourth, which he almost holed for an ace. He proceeded to win three of the next four holes—with Tilley also claiming one—to extend his lead to 5-up through 26 holes.

Tilley had several opportunities to cut into Cavaliere’s lead, but a number of putts and a greenside chip shot caught edges and just wouldn’t fall. Tilley won the 28th hole, but, Cavaliere dropped a pair of birdie putts on Nos. 12 and 13 (the 30th and 31st holes of the match) to seal the victory by a 6-and-5 margin.

“I guess I was patient,” said Cavaliere of his birdies on the second 18. “In the afternoon, I knew they would come. So, it was just giving myself opportunities and it was really nice to see them fall.” None were longer than his title-clinching putt, which came from outside of 25 feet.

The WGA Senior Amateur and Super Senior Amateur championships also crowned victors. Jim Romaniello of Shorehaven defeated Mark Vassalotti of Sterling Farms by a 2-and-1 margin. The duo played a competitive round which featured 11 halves. Meanwhile, Russ Sirico held off Rick Blank of Metropolis in 21 holes.