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Tommy McDonagh Plays for 2nd CT Amateur Golf Title

The Penn State golfer won in 2006 as a 16-year-old high school senior-to-be at St. Luke's.

In 2006, when he was a 16-year-old rising senior at in New Canaan, Tommy McDonagh became the youngest player to win the prestigious Connecticut Amateur championship.

Now the member of Norwalk's will have a chance to capture the tournament again as a more experienced  21-year-old.

McDonagh won two matches Friday at the Rolling Hills Country Club in Wilton to advance to Saturday's 36-hole final against Matt Smith from Quinnatissett Country Club. The match gets under way at 7 a.m., with the second round to follow at 11:30 a.m.

McDonagh reached the semifinals by ousting defending champion Bernie D'Amato of Weston in 20 holes in a match that was suspended after 18 holes on Thursday due to heavy rain and severe lightning.

When it resumed, McDonagh birdied both extra holes to advance to the semifinals against Greg Reilly from the Country Club of Darien. Reilly was able to get his quarterfinal match in Thursday, defeating Twin Hills' Tom McCarthy, 4 and 2.

But he couldn't stay with McDonagh, who coasted to a 6 and 4 victory in a semifinal match that was close early.

McDonagh, who will be a fifth-year senior at Penn State in the fall, took control on the  front, winning the seventh, eighth and ninth holes to make the turn 3-up.

McDonagh also won the 11th and 12th, then closed out the contest with a birdie at the par-4 14th hole.

In the bottom of the half of the draw, Smith reached the final with a 1-up victory over New Canaan's Curtis Loop, a junior at Georgetown who fell one match short of reaching the final.

Like McDonagh, Loop had to complete his quarterfinal match early Friday morning and also was forced to extra holes against Yale's Sam Bernstein.

When play resumed, Bernstein birdied No. 18 to push the match to extra holes, but Loop birdied the 19th hole to move on to the semifinals.

Loop's match with Smith, a senior at Hartford, was tight throughout and came down to the final hole.

Smith started out hot, winning the first two holes to grab an early 2-up lead. Loop answered with birdies on holes four and five to get back to all square.

Loop grabbed the lead when Smith made a double bogey on the par-four seventh. He maintained that advantage until  Smith won the 11th with a par.

The next three holes were halved, but the match turned on No. 15, when Loop's par putt slid just past the hole, giving Smith the break he needed.

The last time a Connecticut Amateur final was played on a Saturday was in 2003 at Wampanoag Country Club.

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