Brown wins Delaware Amateur, Whitby seventh

Jay Whitby finished seventh at the Delaware Amateur.

DOVER — A decade ago, Jay Whitby was one of those young, college golfers.

The 32-year-old from Wyoming can still appreciate the way the latest group of youngsters play the game.

“All the young kids hit it far, and they hit driver everywhere,” said Whitby. “They’re super aggressive. And some days it works and some days it doesn’t. It’s worked for him this week and that’s all that matters.”

Whitby was referring to Evan Brown, a 20-year-old from Kennett Square, Pa., who just finished his sophomore season at Loyola, Md. University.

Nobody could keep up with Brown at the Delaware Amateur this week as he captured his first title in the 68th annual DSGA tournament on Wednesday evening at Maple Dale Country Club.

Brown, who plays out of DuPont, took control by firing a four-under par 68 in the morning round on Wednesday. That was the low round of the 72-hole tourney.

He followed it up with a 72 in the afternoon round to card a five-under par 283, three shots better than second-place finisher William Kim from Wyattsville, Md.

Three players — Michael Brown, Bob Bechtold and Greg Wolfe — tied for third at even par, five shots off the lead.

A year ago, Evan Brown was contending halfway through the Delaware Amateur before finishing a distant fourth when winner Peter Barron ran away with the title.

“Obviously, coming off last year, I wanted to do better,” said Brown, who was a first-team All-Patriot League selection at Loyola this spring. “Last year, I feel like it kind of slipped away. I felt like I could have played better than I did. There was just kind of a little edge that I wanted to get on the field and come back this year.

“I definitely feel like I left some strokes out there. It wasn’t all of what I think I can do. But I think I played pretty well overall.”

With the field of 37 players facing 36 holes in the heat on Wednesday, Brown got off to a great start in his third round.

After a birdie on the first hole, he followed with an eagle three on the second hole. After eight holes, Brown was already five under par for the day.

While he played the rest of the round at one-over par, the fast start was good enough.

Brown did have a double bogey on the ninth hole of his second round. But it was offset by birdies on No. 6 and No. 11.

“This morning, coming back into it, I knew I was behind,” said Brown. “I knew I needed to get off to a good start. Once I got off to that good start, I knew I was in a good spot to just kind of continue my good play and not have to push for anything. That was really big for me.”

With a busy summer schedule, Brown doesn’t expect to play in this year’s Delaware Open. The 54th annual tournament is slated for July 29-30 at Concord.

While it’s still early, he does expect to be back to try to defend his Delaware Amateur title next summer.

“I’m really excited with how I played this week,” said Brown. “I can’t really ask for much more.”

As for Whitby, the four-time Amateur champion had to settle for a seventh-place finish after carding rounds of 71 and 75 on Wednesday. That was his lowest finish in the tourney in several years,

But Whitby, the general manager of Kent County Motors, took it in stride. He actually finished second among in-state residents, placing behind only Wolfe of Wilmington.

“My game was just not there this week,” said Whitby. “I didn’t have anywhere near my best stuff. I just could never find it — I was searching all 72 holes. There were a couple good holes but I never really had it.”

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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