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17-year-old Jack Wall takes over Metropolitan Open lead
Jack Hall fired a 5-under 67 in the second round <br>(MGA Photo)
Jack Hall fired a 5-under 67 in the second round
(MGA Photo)

NEW ROCHELLE, NY (August 22, 2018) - Seventeen-year-old amateur Jack Wall of Manasquan River will take a one-shot lead into Thursday’s final round of the 103rd Met Open Championship Presented by Callaway, after a 5-under 67 shot him to the top of the leaderboard at 8-under par, Wednesday, at Wykagyl Country Club.

A host of decorated professionals and amateurs sit close behind, including 2003 Met Open and three-time Web.com Tour champion Andy Svoboda of Engineers and three-time Met Open low amateur Cameron Young of Sleepy Hollow—who will play alongside Wall in Thursday’s final pairing. Jason Caron of Mill River Club posted his second consecutive 3-under 69 and stands solo fourth, while first round leader and amateur Stewart Hagestad of Deepdale, Max Buckley of Westchester, and Mike Ballo, Jr., of Winged Foot will enter the final round four shots off the pace.

“Putting was a little tough for me yesterday, but today I got some to go in and I just kind of rode the confidence all day,” said Wall of his round, in which he birdied all five of Wykagyls par-5s and made just one bogey.

Though this may be the grandest stage on which Wall has held an overnight lead, the soon-to-be senior at Christian Brothers Academy has played well previously in big moments including a tie for second in the New Jersey State Amateur and medaling in a U.S. Open local qualifying round this summer. “It’s a big difference between playing with all of your friends and having a good time out there, to playing in such competitive events,” said Wall. “But, I don’t know, I don’t see anything different, I just try to go out there and do the best I can and see what happens.”

One way Wall has kept it light amidst the competition is having his oldest brother Ethan as his caddie, saying, “It’s a great time out there. He knows the course a little bit and he coaches me around a little bit. We had a few laughs, so it’s great.”

Meanwhile, Svoboda and Young have fired identical rounds of 68-69 playing alongside each other the first two rounds, both looking to clinch notable accomplishments with the victory. Young—along with Wall—is looking to become the first amateur champion of the Met Open since John Stoltz in 2005, while Svoboda is aiming to become the first player to ever win the Long Island Open, New York State Open, and Met Open in the same year.

“I think I played nicely, but I didn’t score very well,” said Young, who won the Westchester Open earlier this summer and after the Met Open will head to Wake Forest for his senior year. “Obviously I would like to have a couple more to have fallen the last few holes, but I can’t complain.” Young started hot with three birdies over his first six, before momentum slowed with a double-bogey six on the 9th. He added three birdies and a bogey on the par-five 15th en route to his 69.

For Svoboda, the 38-year-old is looking to continue his steady play over the first two days. “I’ve just been driving the ball really well, made a bunch of birdies, so hopefully I can keep that going,” said Svoboda. “The par 5s are really getable and pretty much I’ve just been birdieing those, and the par 3s are difficult, so I’ve just been hanging in there on those. But, the putter has been working pretty well.”

Svoboda will aim to use his experience and familiarity with the course to claim the title for a second time. “I just love playing in the Met Section and my uncle is actually a member [at Wykagyl] so I’ve played this course a lot,” said Svoboda. “It’s a great venue. I love Wykagyl, so hopefully I can just use my experience from over the years to stay calm, hit great shots and make a lot of putts.”

Caron has remained steady over his two rounds, registering just three bogeys and a double-bogey.

Ballo, Jr., and Buckley both jumped up the leaderboard with sub-par rounds, firing 68 and 69, respectively, while Hagestad fell slightly off the pace with a 2-over 74.

Danny Lewis of Hollywood, reigning champion Josh Rackley of Tam O’Shanter, David Pastore of Fairview—who posted the day’s low round of 66—and amateurs James Nicholas of Westchester and Darin Goldstein of Noyac all stand tied for eighth at 3-under-par.

A cut was made to the low 54 scores and ties follow 36 holes of play, with 56 players advancing to Thursday with scores of 3-over 147 or better. With all players going off the first tee, play will begin at 7:00 a.m., while Wall and Young begin their final round at 11:50 a.m.

Thursday’s final round will include live hole-by-hole scoring for the majority of groups, with additional updates on the MGA’s social media outlets and select streamed portions of coverage on Facebook Live

ABOUT THE MET Open

Open to:
1. Past MGA Open Champions.
2. Male PGA Members in good standing in the Metropolitan or New Jersey sections. (A-3 members must have their principle place of residence in the MGA district.)
3. Male professionals, employed at a golf facility in the MGA District, who are enrolled in the PGA’s GPTP.
4. Male head & assistant professionals at MGA Member Clubs.
5. Male professionals who are bonafide members with full golfing privileges at MGA Member Clubs, have a residence in the MGA District and a current USGA Handicap Index of 4.0 or less at that member club.
6. Amateur members & applicants for Amateur re-instatement at MGA Member Clubs with a current USGA Handicap Index at that club of 4.0 or less.
7. Male amateur golfers, 21 & under, in the immediate family of the Head Professional, Manager, & Superintendent at MGA Member Clubs with a current USGA Handicap Index of 4.0 or less.

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