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Not only did 14-year-old Drew O’Neal outduel his twin brother, Nate, for a second straight boys ages 13-14 crown but, in the process, claimed the distinction of boys overall champion or medalist in Wednesday’s final round of the 41st annual Larry Pittman Memorial/Wilson County Junior Golf Championship at Wedgewood Public Golf Course.
With rounds of 83-75-79—237, Drew conquered his brother by seven shots for both titles. Nate’s runner-up effort was 84-79-81—244.
Which was more significant? Defeating his brother or emerging the medalist as the champion from the youngest eligible age group?
“They’re about the same,” Drew responded with a grin. “I was thinking about (the medalist possibility) before the tournament. Nate and I talked about it. We knew Jake (Herring, the 2018 medalist) wasn’t playing — and we had a chance.”
Drew, on the back nine, got help from his twin. He played the first three holes at 3-over and Nate informed him: “You are opening the door a little bit. After that, I needed to make some pars. I knew Nate would try to come after me.”
Drew played the final six layouts at 1-over and was proud of himself for playing safe, settling for bogey and not gambling after hitting an errant tee shot on the par-5, No. 17 layout.
Drew posted a 39-40 with a birdie at No. 6. Nate, who did not close the deficit on the front nine, could never get even with his brother on the back nine.
Nate again finished the runner-up. With a final-round 89, Jacob Kearney held onto third place at 263.
Drew set the pace each round. The twins are rising freshmen at Beddingfield High.
“It’s been nice, playing all the competition,” Drew declared. “I felt like Nate would keep me on my toes.
“It was good to get the lead in the first round. I just wanted to stay there the second round, but I was able to stretch the lead. I just tried to play smart today.”