Eight shots out of the lead heading into the final round of the 25th Metropolitan Amateur Golf Championship on Saturday, 19-year-old Jimmy Siegfried thought he had two chances to win the title — slim and none.
The slim hopes were just enough for Siegfried, who blistered the 6,900-yard Boone Valley Country Club course with a two-under-par 69. He then capped a wild final day by making an 18-foot birdie putt in a sudden-death playoff with Skip Berkmeyer to win the prestigious championship.
“That about sums it up, Eight shots behind with 18 holes left? There was no way I thought I had a chance to win the golf tournament,’’ Siegfried, a former DeSmet High School standout said. “I just wanted to come out and have some fun — and make a few birdies along the way.
“I wasn’t really thinking about it (winning) all day. They had a scoreboard that I saw once or twice, but I was playing like an hour ahead of the leaders. When I made the birdie on 18 to get to 3-over for the tournament, I started to think that well, maybe.’’
Berkmeyer, who won the Metropolitan title at Bellerive Country Club in 2009 and long one of the top amateurs in the St. Louis area, had a chance to win the title on the 54th hole, but failed to get up and down for par from off the fringe on the par-4 18th hole. Both Siegfried and Berkmeyer finished 54 holes at 216.
First and second round leader Sam Migdal finished third at 217 after shooting a 78. The 2015 NCAA Division II national champion while playing at Central Missouri State University, Midgal, playing in the final twosome with Berkmeyer, had a one-shot lead coming into the final hole.
But in the sand bunker some 150-yards from the green, Migdal chunked his approach on the 18th hole into the water.
After hitting his fourth shot on to the putting surface, Migdal then three putt for triple bogey to miss the playoff by a single stroke.
An emotional Migdal left the course soon after.
St. Louis natives Scott Seibert and Ryan Sullivan tied for fourth place with a total of 218. Belleville native Phil Caravia had the top finish for a metro-east player, tying for eighth with a 221 score. Caravia shot a 76 on Saturday.
Former Althoff High School player Michael Johnson, just four shots behind Migdal entering Saturday, ballooned to an 87 to finish in group which tied for 21st at 230. That tie included former Columbia player Drew Weisenborn.
Weisenborn shot 79. Belleville native Tim Riley shot 87 to finsh at 239.
Taking on Berkmeyer in a four-hole playoff to start, Siegfried, who was redshirted last year as a freshman at Missouri, made bogey on the first hole to fall a stroke behind.
But a spectacular shot on No. 17, the third extra hole, led to a birdie, evening the playoff.
The two players then made routine pars on the 18th hole to set up the sudden-death scenario.
“Honestly, I thought if I made four pars in the playoff that I would win the golf tournament,’’ Berkmeyer said. “The shot he (Siegfried) hit to set up the birdie on 17 was one I couldn’t hit. It was a great golf shot.
“I’ve known Jimmy (Siegfried) since he’s been 11-12 years old. If I’m going to lose, at least it’s to someone who is going to the right school (Missouri).’’
In the sudden death playoff, and playing the par-4 18th hole for the third time in two hours, both Berkmeyer and Siegfried were on the green in regulation.
Berkmeyer left his 45-foot birdie putt a little short, while Siegfried, taking almost no time once over the ball, stroked the ball into the middle of the cup to claim the title.
“I hit driver and 9-iron both times in the playoff on 18. The second time I had probably 140 yards to the hole and I hit a very good shot,’’ Siegfried said. “To win this tournament and beat a player like (Skip) Berkmeyer in a playoff makes it even more special. He’s been the top amateur in St. Louis for a few years now.
“To be able to have my name put on the (championship) with all the great players in the past means a lot. I’m going to enjoy this for a long time.’’
Johnson, who put himself in contention with a 69 on Friday, had the look of a weary player as he walked off the 18th green after shooting an 87 on Saturday.
“Actually, the 69 on Friday could have been a really low round. I had two or three makeable birdie putts that I just missed,’’ Johnson said. “Today it was like anything could go wrong did. I got off to a tough start and it didn’t get any better.
“It’s been a long three days and a long summer. I’m just a little tired right now.’’
Contact reporter Dean Criddle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2661.