Big Win for Pendrick in Long Island Am

OYSTER BAY, NY (June 11, 2009)--Bryan Pendrick of Oyster Bay GC defeated Bradley Rock, Jr. of Wheatley Hills GC 8 & 7 in a 36 hole single match at the Mill River Club to win the Long Island Amateur Championship. Except for two years during World War II, the Long Island Golf Association has conducted this championship yearly since 1922. The championship features a qualifier followed by five rounds of match play, starting with a round of 32.

Pendrick reached the final by shooting 73 in the qualifier and then defeating Scott Singer of Rock Hill GC, Peter Van Ingen of Deepdale GC, Casey Alexander of Colonial Springs GC and Tom Bostwick of the Meadow Brook Club. Rock got there with a 74 in the qualifier and victories over John Shurina of Bethpage SP, Woody Lashen of Rock’s club, Peter Wilson of the Piping Rock Club and Gerard Connolly of Bethpage SP.

In the final match, things got interesting early on, as Pendrick had to take an unplayable penalty following his drive on the par 5 first hole, when the ball fetched up under a small evergreen left of the fairway. Nevertheless, Pendrick’s solid decision-making and formidable short game was very much in evidence as he then hit an iron into the fairway, a second iron on the green behind the stick and made a 12-footer to halve Rock’s somewhat routine par 5 (Rock did miss the fairway on the right). Pendrick put his drive on the next hole into the bunker at the elbow of the dogleg, but they both were on in two and two-putted for pars. On the par 3 third, Pendrick took a lead he would never lose with a tee ball to the center of the green, as Rock missed the green to the right, short-siding himself. Rock’s subsequent chip came out quite hot, running across the green and leaving him a 35 footer, which he failed to make. Pendrick’s well-judged first putt led to a routine par, not for the last time this day, and he was one up.

They halved the number one handicap 4th hole with bogies, and halved the longish par 5 fifth (at 532 yards, the course’s longest hole) with pars, as Pendrick again got up and down, after another drive in the rough. From then on, however, Pendrick found the feeling he had been looking for in his swing with the driver, and pretty much drove the ball where he wanted it to go. He hit 9 out of the next ten fairways (and birdied the 10th, lest someone think he had forgotten how to scramble).

On six, Pendrick’s eight-footer for birdie was conceded when Rock could not make his putt for four, and Pendrick was 2 up. They halved the par three seventh (with its roly-poly green) with pars, but Pendrick went three up with a two putt par on the difficult 8th hole, when Rock pushed his drive into the right trees past the water hazard, and had to punch out, a stroke he did not recover. On 9, Rock made a routine par from the fairway, but Pendrick found his drive in the first cut to the right. He then hit a gorgeous fading high iron to a back right hole location, leaving himself a six footer, which he made for birdie and a 4 up lead at the turn of the morning round. He was one under for the front nine.

On the blind and vexing 10th, Pendrick hit a very well-judged second shot to 12 feet below the front (perilous) hole location; Rock had a 40 footer from the back portion of the green. Given the position, Rock predictably putted slightly off the front edge and subsequently did not make the comebacker. Pendrick’s routine two putt (notice a pattern here?) put him 5 up. On the spectacularly featured 11th (with its hanging fairway which rises to a pass among left and right hills, water hazard short left of a pedestal green full of nastily-breaking and/or runaway putts), Rock made a very nice up and down from below the green for 4, but, when Pendrick canned his 25 footer from the left fringe for birdie, Rock was six down. On the par three 12th, Pendrick made yet another well-judged first putt leading to par, while Rock hit perhaps his worst shot of the day, fanning an iron way right and short (almost into the 15th fairway). Rock then attempted to bounce a low punch off the side hill of the green, and have it bounce up close enough for a makeable par putt. His plan worked (sort of), when his punch jumped on him, hit a tree branch and ended up on the green, 18 feet below and right of the hole. Unfortunately, he could not quite take advantage of the gift of the golf gods, leaving his putt hanging a few millimeters short of the lower lip. Pendrick was up seven.

They halved the dogleg left 13th with routine par fours, and the 14th with par fives (Rock’s required an up and down). On 15, they again had routine par fours. Perhaps heartened by a three-hole run of halves, Rock then hit a beautiful iron into the par 3 16th, and made the 12 foot birdie putt for his first win of the match. They finished off the morning by both making birdie on the par five 17th, and also halving the par 4 18th, Rock getting up and down to do so. At the end of the morning round, Pendrick had shot 3 under 69 for a six hole lead.

The afternoon commenced with routine pars on the first, but the next five holes were not halved. Rock’s bogies on two and three sent the lead to eight, but his par on 4 (while Pendrick made a mess of it) got him one back. However, Rock bogied the par 5 5th and Pendrick birdied the par four 6th with a precise iron to about five feet; the lead was now 9, and they were beginning to turn the house lights off. Rock’s hard-fought bogie on seven (after his pulled tee ball ran down and behind the green via the paved cart path until it found ground under repair 40 yards past the flagstick) was matched by Pendrick’s only three putt of the day, but, by now Rock was in need of much greater help than that provided by halving holes. Another halve ensued when Pendrick’s iron past the stick on 8 showed some (normally fatal) backspin. Miraculously, the ball stopped rolling a few feet short and right of the green, where regulars at Mill River swear a ball that is moving downward there cannot halt its descent to the fairway thirty to fifty yards below. Taking full advantage, Pendrick used his trusty two-ball mallet to knock his third shot within 6 inches of the hole, for a conceded par that halved Rock’s simple one. Two on-in-regulation, two-putt pars on 9 kicked the can one more hole down the road, and Pendrick was now dormie. Rock’s dismissal was momentarily staved off when his second shot on 10 landed behind the stick and lipped out on its slow trip down the front portion of the green, stopping six feet below the stick. Pendrick made a harum-scarum par from way left of the fairway (after hitting the cartpath) and from the front left greenside bunker, when his sand shot almost went in and stopped less than a foot from the hole, but Rock made his putt to win his third hole of the day and extend the match.

It all ended on 11, as Rock made a divine intervention par (he hit a tree on top of the left hill with his tee ball, and it ricocheted dead right back into the fairway, 235 yards from the green, uphill and into the wind). From there he hit a fine fairway wood way up in the air to below the green, and got up and down. However, all it could produce was a fatal halve, as Pendrick’s fine drive was followed by a good iron to 40 feet, even with and right of the stick. Pendrick sank his second putt, a four footer, and it went into the book as an 8 & 7 win. When it ended, he was one under par for the day. He shook the hand of his opponent and everyone else in the vicinity, and then hugged his father, who had followed him for much of the last three days of golf.

The LIGA would like to thank the members and employees of the Mill River Club for the warm welcome afforded the players and officials. Special thanks go to PGA Professional Mark Mielke for serving such a major role in the planning and execution of this championship, and to Golf Course Superintendent Steven Sweet and his staff, for providing the outstanding conditioning of the course. The competitors were unstinting in their praise for the facility and its people. Lastly, the LIGA would like to once again congratulate the 2009 Long Island Amateur Champion, Bryan Pendrick.

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