Wagner Defends Metropolitan Open Title
Former Hokie wins first event as pro
August 23, 2002 MAMARONECK, N.Y. - Former Virginia Tech golfer Johnson Wagner shot a final round even-par 70 Thursday to defend his title at the 2002 Metropolitan Open at the historic Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y. Wagner, who completed his collegiate career in the spring, entered the final round with a four-stroke lead and never trailed on Thursday. He won the $23,000 purse in his first event as a professional, after turning pro just last week. Last season, Wagner became just the fifth amateur to win the tournament in its 86 years. He was also just the second person to win the event and the Metropolitan Amateur in the same year when he won the tournament at the Black Course at Bethpage State Park, site of the 2002 U.S. Open.. Former winners of the Metropolitan Open include golf hall-of-famers Byron Nelson, Gene Sarazan, Walter Hagen and Tommy Armour. With the victory, Wagner becomes the first player ever to win the event as both an amateur and a professional and the first player to win all three Metropolitan Golf Association major titles in the same calendar year. He has now won five consecutive MGA major titles, also a first. "Johnson's victories in the Met Open the past two years, which were both played on U.S. Open courses, Bethpage Black and Winged Foot, demonstrate the fact that he has the ability to compete at the highest level," Tech head coach Jay Hardwick said. "His win this week, in his first professional event, is a great start toward his lifelong dream of being a touring pro."