Ryan Moore, 21, of Puyallup, Wash., won the last four holes, three of them with birdies, to overtake Luke List, 19, of Ringgold, Ga., and win the U.S. Amateur championship Sunday at Winged Foot Golf Club, 2 up.
"Coming down 17 and 18 in the afternoon, I knew I had to make birdies," said Moore, who made birdie putts of 10 and 6 feet on the last holes to close out List on the 7,266-yard West Course, the longest course in Amateur history.
"Going into the back side, I knew I had to make some birdies. He was playing so solid that the only way I could win holes was to make birdies. I was close all day, and I knew I was going to make some putts coming down the stretch. I know I can close as good as anyone."
A 2003 U.S. Open qualifier, List took the lead on the seventh hole of the 36-hole final and held it for the next 24 holes before Moore turned a 2-hole deficit into a 2-up win down the stretch. Moore, who also won the U.S. Amateur Public Links championship in July, is the first to win both championships in the same year.
Both finalists earn full exemptions into the 2005 U.S. Open and have historically been invited to compete in the next Masters Tournament. Moore also receives an exemption into the 2005 British Open.
"This was the goal at the beginning of the summer," said Moore. "I m not sure what else to say, I'm so excited."
Moore was the qualifying medalist in 36 holes of stroke play before the field was trimmed to the top 64 scores, but he had to come from behind in five of his six matches. However, he was never as many as 4 down until Sunday morning.
List won holes seven and eight with pars, and then built his lead to 4 up with a birdie on the 15th and a par at the 17th. Moore rebounded to win the 18th, but still found himself 3 down at the break. List started the afternoon round with a winning par to stand 4 up again. But from there, Moore slowly whittled away at the lead, and finished the equivalent of 4-under-par for his last nine holes.
Moore has been the best player in amateur golf this summer, winning the 2004 NCAA Division I championship, the U.S. Amateur Public Links and the Western Amateur. He is the fifth to win two USGA titles in the same year.
He qualified for the 2002 U.S. Open and made the cut at the 2003 Masters Tournament. The last two stroke play medalists to win the Amateur were Tiger Woods in 1996 and Phil Mickelson in 1991. His match play record in all USGA championships combined (7) is now 27-4.
"My game has been real solid," said Moore. "Since last October, I've been real consistent. On a golf course like this, that's what you want to do."
Moore has played 39 of his last 41 competitive stroke play rounds at par or better.
List proved to be a solid frontrunner until the last four holes of the final match. He trailed for only five holes during his six matches. But, in the end he trailed when it mattered most.
"I knew I was the underdog today, but I thought I could pull it out," said List. "It just didn't happen. I didn't quite hang on. He really put it to me coming down the stretch.
"I expected to come in here and do well, but I guess I didn't expect to come this far," said List. "Now that I have (come this far), it feels great. This has been my best tournament ever. I wish I could have won, but Ryan is a great champion. I'm going to remember this tournament forever."
Past winners of the Amateur include greats Bob Jones, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. Woods was a three-time winner from 1994-96.
The Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.