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A bad back made this golf season a downer for Tim Hume -- until Sunday.

The 38-year-old Williamsville resident showed the full extent of his golfing talent for one of the few times all year by winning the 17th annual New York State Mid-Amateur Championship at Bellevue Country Club in Syracuse.

It was the first-ever state crown for Hume, who won a record four straight Buffalo District titles from 1996 to '99.

Hume shot a final-round 5-under-par 67 to come from four strokes back and win by nine. He had a 74 on Friday's first round.

Hume, a member at Park CC and Cherry Hill CC, became the first Buffalo district player ever to win the state mid-am. He's also the second Buffalo-area state titlist in two years. Brookfield CC's John Gaffney won the state amateur in '99.

This was Hume's first major win of the season. A sore back has severely limited his playing time. He struggled to a fourth-place finish in the District championship at Cherry Hill in August.

"I would have been very down about the way this season went for me if it weren't for this win," Hume said. "It would have been a very long winter. But now it's very gratifying. To win a state title, this is the pinnacle of my amateur golfing career."

Hume shot 31 on the front side to take command of the event. On the 434-yard first hole, he hit a 6-iron from 160 yards to 18 inches and made birdie. On the 440-yard fourth he hit a 5-iron from 172 to 3 inches and birdied. Then he sank 30- and 15-foot birdie putts on the sixth and ninth holes, both par-4s.

"After the birdie on the fourth hole, I knew I had my 'A' game today," Hume said. "The weather was crummy out there. We played the first five holes in a pretty substantial downpour. We played the last 10 in cold and wind."

Saturday's round was postponed by rain, and the field was supposed to play 36 holes Sunday. However, the final day was cut to 18 holes due to bad weather.

"Thank God we didn't have to play 36 because my back is a little sore," Hume said. "I've only practiced once since the districts. I usually just hit 15 balls and go play a round."

Other local finishers included: Glen Oaks' Doug Stein, tied for 23rd with 155; Lancaster CC's Jay Stellrecht, tied for 33rd with 157; Crag Burn's Jim Cecchini, Transit Valley's Mike McNulty and Park's Kevin Barnett, all tied for 38th place with 158, and Brookfield's John Gaffney, 46th with 160.

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