Tim Rosenhouse never did get to celebrate his graduation from Lehigh last month. He had a tournament the next day, a qualifier for the Ike Championship. "I bogeyed my last four holes to miss the cut by one," he said.
That was not a problem. It turned out to be one more postgraduate lesson, which helped him through a long day on Friday. It evidently helped teach him how to win, and that allowed him a real occasion to celebrate, a championship of the Long Island Amateur.
Rosenhouse, 22, used a spurt of good putting on the sloped greens at Engineers Country Club -- his home course -- and defeated Matt Demeo of Hamlet WindWatch, 4 and 2, in a 36-hole final that included a 2-hour, 25-minute storm delay.
"You just have to kind of ignore what your body is telling you. With the heat we played in, there are a lot of times when you're just totally, totally physically exhausted," the champion said.
Being 22 helps on a day like that, although Demeo, a graduate student at Adelphi is only 23. Knowing the course helps a lot, although Rosenhouse said that the greens were faster than they normally are at Engineers. What helps most of all is game, a solid putting stroke and a good dose of maturity. He already has plans to turn pro and to make his living at golf, one way or another (he has a newly minted marketing degree).
"I've been working really hard," he said.
He overcame Demeo's two-hole advantage after the morning round, and withstood Demeo's best haymaker: Right after the delay, Demeo stepped up and made a 25-foot par putt on No. 9. "I knew I could make it, I knew I had to make some putts to get back in the match," said Demeo, who won the Havemeyer Invitational at Southward Ho last month. "I just screwed up at 10, I should have had a birdie putt and Timmy just got hot with the putter down the stretch."
Rosenhouse's par putts on No. 12 and 13 put him up three. He finished with a 22-footer for birdie on 16, and with the assurance that the trophy, established in 1922, always will say that he is a winner.
'When I was a kid, I used to do pretty well with Met PGA stuff and local junior events. But I had a couple chances in college to win tournaments and I never did," he said. "So this is definitely the biggest."
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