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Four Share MET Mid-Amateur First Round Advantage
Hunter Semels is among the quartet of first round pace setters <br>(MGA Photo)
Hunter Semels is among the quartet of first round pace setters
(MGA Photo)

EAST HAMPTON, NY (September 5, 2018) - A quartet of players carded 2-under 70s in the opening round of the 12th MGA Mid-Amateur Championship, Tuesday at The Maidstone Club, setting up a packed leaderboard heading into Wednesday’s final round.

Colby Anderson of Nassau, Eric LeFante of Somerset Hills, MGA eClub – New Jersey member Chester Patterson and Hunter Semels of North Hempstead all posted 70s, while Matthew Finger of Darlington rounded out those in red figures thanks to 1-under 71.

Semels had the most adventurous card of those who shot 70, registering seven birdies to five bogeys. The highlight stretch came with four consecutive birdies on Nos. 4-7, all coming on his first time playing the classic links-style layout.

“It was a nice stretch there,” said Semels, a two-time winner of the Long Island Amateur. “I had never seen the course before so I didn’t really know what to expect. I drive it pretty straight, so it’s a good course for me,” he continued. “I kept it in play and I gave myself some opportunities. The greens were good and you could make a lot of putts and I felt like the hole was pretty large on the front nine, which was nice.”

On the way in, Semels took advantage of the back-to-back par-fives, making his final two birdies on Nos. 15 and 16 while also taking notes for Thursday’s final round.

“If I can keep it in play, it’s a second shot course,” he said. “Now seeing it, I think I’m just going to try to be a little more conservative and just try to keep it in front of me and try to shoot even.”

Anderson—this year’s Long Island Amateur champion—LeFante and Patterson all kept miscues to a minimum, each posting four birdies to two bogeys en route to their 70s. Anderson closed in a fury, bouncing back from a first nine 37 with a 33, while Patterson’s highlight was a three-birdie stretch on Nos. 9-11.

Finger posted four birdies to three bogeys for his 71.

Close behind also stand the winners of the last three MGA Mid-Amateurs, as reigning champion Darin Goldstein of Noyac and 2015 and 2016 champion Trevor Randolph of Arcola shot even-par 72. Philip Mintz of Century and Michael Stamberger of Spring Lake also carded 72 to stand tied sixth.

“I hit my irons well and had a lot of good looks at birdie,” said Goldstein. “I didn’t drive it well, but I missed it in the right spots, so I kept myself in some holes.”

Goldstein had a slow start with bogeys on Nos. 1 and 3, but bounced back with a quality birdie-two on the 4th. After seven consecutive pars, he added birdies on two of the final three par-5s.

“You’re hitting to relatively small areas,” said Goldstein of the Maidstone greens. “So, try to pick good lines and commit to them. If you give yourself some looks, you can make a lot of putts out there.”

Meanwhile, Randolph fought his game a little, but is well within striking distance heading into Thursday’s final round.

“I was just making sloppy swings, three-putts, mental mistakes,” said Randolph, who claimed the Boff Invitational this season. “But, I bared down on the par-fives coming in and made a good birdie on 13 after driving it in the right fairway bunker,” he continued, describing his strong finish. “Two holes later, I hit it about six feet for eagle and made that to get my round back to even.”

For Randolph the round also gave him more knowledge of the course that he hopes will help him Thursday.

“Tomorrow should be a lot better because now I have a little bit more comfort where I’m hitting it,” he said. “I was really uncomfortable on tee shots today, not knowing what club to hit, not confident on my lines and hopefully that gets better tomorrow.”

Another quarter carded 1-over 73s while five players posted 2-over 74s, leaving a total of 14 players within four strokes of the lead pack.

Maidstone played to a par of 72 at 6,634 yards. The spectacular layout proved to be a stern test for the starting field of 106 players aged 30 or older, who earned invitations for the championship based on finishes in MGA and Met Area events. Following Wednesday’s opening round, a cut was made to the low 40 scores and ties, with 43 players advancing with scores of 6-over 78 or better.

Thursday’s final round will feature 9 and 18 hole updates for the majority of the field and live hole-by-hole updates for several of the final pairings.

ABOUT THE MET Mid-Amateur

This championship brings together a field of the best 30-and-over golfers the Met Area has to offer. The 36- hole stroke-play event is an invitational and players gain entry based on high finishes in selected MGA and Met Area events. The winner is awarded the Westmoreland Cup, named for long-time MGA Tournament Director Gene Westmoreland.

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