GLEN COVE, N.Y. — Sleepy Hollow’s John Ervasti fired a 6-under 64 in the opening round of the 9th Metropolitan Mid-Amateur Championship, Monday at Nassau Country Club. His 64 matches the low round in the tournament’s history, and earns him a two-shot lead entering Tuesday’s final round.
“I hit the ball well, so I hit a lot of greens and I made some putts,” Ervasti said of his round, which featured eight birdies. “It was fun to make putts and shoot a low score.”
Ervasti began his day with a bogey, but birdies on Nos. 4 and 6 quickly turned his round sub-par. After three pars to close his front nine, the two-time MGA champion lit up the final nine holes, making six birdies, including a stretch of four-straight on holes 14 through 17.
Ervasti owns three top-10 finishes in the Mid-Am, but is looking for his first title in the championship come Tuesday, hoping to add to his Senior Open (2010) and Senior Amateur (2011) titles. Accomplished players follow close behind though, and Ervasti is well aware.
“There’s a whole bunch of good players behind me who will probably shoot a real low score,” he said. “It’s nice to have a little bit of a lead, but I just have to go out and hit some good shots and make some putts again.”
Michael Karger of Century, the 2013 Mid-Am champion, held the lead for most of the day after his morning round of 4-under 66. He recorded four birdies in the bogey-free round, which began with fog lingering in the air. “I started off really well, because I one-putted the first five holes,” Karger reported following his round. “I made two birdies and then just really par-streaked it in.”
Karger birdied the 13th and 14th as he opened his round, then added birdies on Nos. 2 and 7 as he kept his card clean for the day en route to the relatively stress-free 66. "I just kept it together, putted well--I didn't have any stressful leaves," said Karger. "I was tapping in all my second putts when I missed, and I think that's one of the things you need to do."
A trio of players carded rounds of 2-under 68, including Richard Feldman of Centennial, Trevor Randolph of Arcola and Mike Stamberger of Spring Lake.
Feldman tallied six birdies on the day, but had four bogeys in a five-hole stretch early in his round.
Randolph, who started his round on the 10th, had an early bogey on the par-4 12th, but made three birdies before making the turn. He added a birdie and a bogey on his final nine en route to the 68, but felt like he left a lot on the course.
"I stayed patient," Randolph said. "I really didn’t hit it that great. I hit my wedges close, but my driver was awful. I probably left four or five putts right on the lip, so it could have been a really good round." Randolph is also seeking his first win in the event, but has past success including a runner-up finish in 2013.
Another player with past success in the Mid-Am and seeking a first win in the championship is Trevor Randolph of Arcola, who held the lead nearly all day after his morning round of 4-under 66.
Stamberger had five birdies on his round, and was mostly happy to see his game turn for the best after not playing a lot recently. “I hit some good iron shots,” said Stamberger. “I feel good with the irons. It just feels better—I haven’t been playing that much, but I’ve tried to play more before this.”
Steven Tarulli of Hempstead and Michael Guli of Essex County rounded out the under-par scores on Monday, both at 1-under 69.
Five players, including Nick Desai of Baltusrol, Bryan Pendrick of Mill River, Jim Dufficy of The Links at Union Vale, Dave Segot of Nassau Players Club and Peter Kozubal rounded out the top-10, shooting even-par.
Nassau played to a par 70 at 6,496 yards. The historic club has hosted more MGA major championships than any other club, serving as the site of eight Met Amateurs, three Met Opens and two Ike Championships. It has also hosted national events such as the U.S. Men’s Amateur in 1903 and the U.S. Women’s Amateur in 1914 and 2014.
Following Monday’s round of play, a cut was made to the low 40 scores and ties, with 45 players advancing to Tuesday’s final round. The MGA will provide live hole-by-hole scoring for the majority of groups during the final round. Play will begin at 8:15 a.m., with the final group teeing off at 9:37 a.m.
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