â€‹Three rounds in the sixties were just enough to carry Westchester native Andy Svoboda to the winner’s circle of the 103rd Met Open Championship at Wykagyl Country Club. The teaching pro from Engineers CC began the final round Thursday one shot off the lead, but ended with a one stroke victory over 17-year-old Jack Wall of Manasquan River, who earned low amateur honors.
The win put the prestigious Walker L. Trammell trophy in Svoboda’s hands for the second time in his career, having won the 2003 Met Open as an amateur. Johnson Wagner was the only other player to win the Met Open as both an amateur and a professional. The victory also gave Svoboda a metro-area hat trick, making him the first-ever player to win the Long Island Open, New York State Open and Met Open in the same season.
Svoboda played his first six holes of the final round in 5-under par with birdies on the par-five 1st and 3rd holes. He canned a downhill slider putt for another bird on the 210-yard par-three 4th hole, but the highlight of the round was his drive on the short par-four 6th, which landed on the green 285 yards away to leave him a 12-foot putt for an eagle.
The New Rochelle native’s performance held off numerous strong contenders. Reigning MGA Player of the Year James Nicholas of Westchester CC fired a 5-under 30 on the opening nine but fell back to even par on the back nine to finish third. Max Buckley, also playing out of Westchester CC, finished T-6 while Sleepy Hollow’s Cameron Young, who began the day tied with Svoboda, collapsed to a 76 on his final round to tie for eighth.
Svoboda has deep roots in Westchester golf. He has an uncle who is a longtime member at Wykagyl. He caddied at Winged Foot in high school and college at St. John’s (where he won 14 times), then took a turn on the mini tours before returning to Old Oaks to work for—and with—Bobby Heins. Returning to the pro circuits, Svoboda won three times on the Web.com Tour before making it to the PGA Tour where he racked up $2.6 million in career winnings with three top-ten finishes.
The hosting of the 103rd Met Open Championship is just one more chapter in Wykagyl’s outstanding history of championship golf. It also staged the 1909 and 1927 Met Opens, seven Ike Championships, and two Met Amateurs. The classic layout was the site of the first golf tournament to be broadcast by a TV network, the 1949 Goodall Palm Beach Round Robin. It was also home to the LPGA Big Apple Classic for 17 years under various sponsors.