James Piot, proper, hugs his caddie, Dan Ellis, after defeating Austin Greaser on the seventeenth gap to win the U.S. Novice Championship golf event Sunday at Oakmont Nation Membership in Oakmont, Pa.

(AP picture)

He was 3 down and operating out of time.

Standing on the tenth tee, Piot set a objective of enjoying the again 9 at 4-under par. This was at Oakmont, as fearsome as any course in America, the place the greens reputed to be the quickest within the land had been triple minimize. Extra holes have been gained with pars than birdies.

Piot was as much as the duty. Beginning with a 9-iron to three ft for birdie, he gained 4 straight holes to take the lead over Austin Greaser and closed out his beautiful rally with a 20-foot par putt that despatched him to a 2-and-1 victory.

“It’s the best feeling on the planet,” Piot mentioned. “As an beginner, it’s one of the best factor you are able to do.”

James Piot lifts the trophy after defeating Austin Greaser on the seventeenth gap to win the U.S. Novice Championship golf event Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021, at Oakmont Nation Membership in Oakmont, Pa. (Matt Freed/Pittsburgh Submit-Gazette by way of AP)

Piot didn’t win a gap on the entrance 9 within the afternoon. He didn’t lose a gap on the again 9, even when he fell simply in need of his objective. He was 3 below on the again.

The match ended on the reachable par-4 seventeenth when Piot blasted out of a bunker throughout the slick inexperienced and into one other bunker, bought that out to twenty ft and made it for par. Greaser’s 8-foot birdie putt to increase the match spun out of the left lip.

“I simply didn’t execute on the again 9,” Greaser mentioned. “He did. Hats off to him, he performed a terrific again 9. The playing cards fell his method this time. It’s going to sting just a little bit.”

Piot, a 22-year-old senior at Michigan State, was mobbed by pals and teammates of their Spartans gear off the inexperienced and earlier than lengthy he was holding the gold Havemeyer Trophy.

He gave the impression to be gazing at a century-old record of champions from Bobby Jones to Jack Nicklaus to Tiger Woods. Seems that wasn’t the case in any respect.

“I used to be attempting to see if it was actual or not,” Piot mentioned. “I couldn’t imagine it. I truthfully was like, ‘Did I simply win the U.S. Am?’ I in all probability couldn’t inform you one identify proper now on that factor. That’s how loopy it was and the way unbelievable it felt.”

Groomed on a public course in Plymouth known as Fox Hills Golf and Banquet Heart, he realized to battle by spending all day on the course with pals making up cash video games to play, both for lunch for one another’s golf balls.

When he arrived at Michigan State and his coach inspired Piot to try to be All-Massive Ten, Piot thought advised that was setting the bar too low. He wished to be All-American.

And now he’s a U.S. Novice champion.

His caddie for the event was Dan Ellis, affiliate head coach for the MSU males’s golf workforce. Ellis, a Negaunee native, is the son of Dean and Lois Ellis of Iron Mountain.

It was a tricky loss for Greaser, a junior at North Carolina. Trailing 1 down after the morning 18 holes, he gained three of the opening 4 holes within the afternoon, adopted by a pair of powerful par putts to remain in entrance.

With a par to win the ninth, he went 3 up and seemed powerful to beat.

Piot took it from there. His birdie on No. 10 was his first since he hit 6-iron to three ft on the 18th within the morning spherical to take a 1-up lead into lunch. After which he bought some assist from Greaser.

Each had 15-foot birdie putts on the eleventh. Greaser ran his 6 ft by and three-putted to lose one other gap. On the par-5 twelfth, Grease hit 3-iron too far left right into a bunker some 20 yards in need of the inexperienced. He might solely get out to the entrance of the inexperienced, leaving him a 70-foot putt that didn’t cease rolling till it was 20 ft away.

He three-putted — his seventh of the championship match — and it was again to all sq..

“I simply felt like from there, all of the momentum was on my aspect,” Piot mentioned.

Piot gained his fourth straight gap and took the lead with a tee shot on the par-3 thirteenth to 10 ft for a conceded birdie when Greaser discovered a bunker and did not convert a 12-footer par putt.

The ultimate blow was the fifteenth, when Greaser hit into the “church pew” bunkers down the left aspect, needed to lay up and hit wedge that didn’t fairly clear a delicate ridge, and the velocity and slope of Oakmont’s infamous greens despatched the ball 20 ft away for an additional bogey.

“It actually stinks to come back up only a hair brief,” Greaser mentioned. “However there have been plenty of youngsters that in all probability wished they have been standing the place I used to be at this time, and I’m going to try to keep in mind that and know that I performed my coronary heart out and gave my greatest.”

The victory places Piot into the three skilled majors subsequent 12 months — the Masters, the U.S. Open at Brookline and the British Open at St. Andrews.

Greaser will get into the Masters and the U.S. Open because the runner-up.

“I nonetheless don’t imagine I’m holding this trophy proper now,” Piot mentioned. “Internally, I believed I had the flexibility to do it. To truly do it’s the biggest factor ever.”

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