BOWLING GREEN — Tyler McDaniel of Manchester kept the pressure on in the final round of the Kentucky State Amateur on Thursday and took home the championship by six shots.
The Clay County High School junior fired a 4-under 68 on the final day at the Bowling Green Country Club to become the youngest champion in the history of the tournament.
The 17-year-old finished with a three-round total of 13-under 203.
"I was sticking it on every hole," said McDaniel, who birdied three of his first four holes. He also saved pars on holes 5 and 6 and then again on holes 10 and 11.
He birdied holes 12 and 14, and from there it was easy sailing.
McDaniel took a three-stroke lead into Thursday over Transylvania University golfer and Elizabethtown native Clay Hinton and was five up on ex-Murray State golfer and defending champion Patrick Newcomb.
Hinton fell back with a 7-over round on Thursday, but Newcomb surged, shooting 3-under 69 and finishing the tournament at 7-under.
But by the time McDaniel had finished hole 12, he was already 13-under on the day. From there he was on cruise control.
Newcomb birdied three of his last five holes to hold off a hard-charging Matthew Zakutney of Paducah, who fired the low round of the day (67) to finish third.
Newcomb was trying to become the third player in tournament history to win the championship three times in a row. He said on Wednesday that he planned on staying at the course until dark to work on his game before Thursday's final round.
Winning the three consecutive championships was a huge goal for Newcomb, but McDaniel's near-flawless play throughout the three-day event halted those aspirations.
McDaniel, the 2012 Kentucky Golf House Player of the Year, shot rounds of 68, 67 and 68.
"It's pretty indescribable, especially where I had some bad luck in it last year," McDaniel said.
In 2012, McDaniel trailed by two heading to the final round but faded with a 75.
McDaniel heads to the Kentucky Junior Amateur Championship, a tournament he won last year, on July 1.