LOCUST VALLEY, NY (September 30, 2009)--Long Island police officer Dennis Lynch of Nassau Players Club shot an even-par 70, the best round of anyone in the field over two days, to surge to a three-stroke victory in the 3rd MGA Mid-Amateur Championship at The Creek Club in Locust Valley, N.Y. It is the first MGA championship title for Lynch, a longtime competitor in MGA events who also won the 2001 LIGA Public Links Championship. The win caps off the most successful season of Lynch’s playing career.
“This is a great golf course, and I’m really happy with the victory,” said Lynch. “The approach shots were really tough today, especially the short irons.” When the 48-year-old Lynch was asked if he’s getting better as he gets older, he replied, “I like to think so. Today was just terrific.”
Even more than the first round, the wind and cool temperatures made scoring very difficult on the 6,374-yard, par-70 layout at the Creek, where none of the 82 players who began the championship yesterday were able to break par. First-round co-leaders Niall Handley of High Bridge Hills in New Jersey and Chuck Del Priore of Wykagyl began the day with a one-stroke lead that quickly evaporated, as the wind and fast greens made pars and birdies hard to come by. Handley shot a 74 to finish in a four-way tie for second place at 145, while Del Priore finished in 13th place.
Tying Handley at 145 was a trio of accomplished champions, each of whom had a chance to win today. Ken Bakst of Friar’s Head shot 72 today and was the clubhouse leader at five-over 145 until Lynch completed his round. Bakst had a difficult eagle putt on the 18th green but slid it eight feet past the hole and missed the comeback attempt. Also finishing tied for second was Ron Vannelli of Metuchen, who won the 2005 Met Amateur here at the Creek, and 2009 Met Amateur runner-up John Ervasti of Sleepy Hollow. Ervasti, who is the first alternate into the upcoming U.S. Mid-Amateur, also had an eagle putt on the 18th that would have put him at 143.
“Close again,” said Ervasti, who also tied for second last year at Bayonne Golf Club. “I ended up playing the last four holes in one-under to make it interesting, so I was pretty happy. I felt I got the most out of my round today.”
The day belonged to Lynch, who is in his 24th year with the Suffolk County police department, and worked the night shift before his 8:40 a.m. tee time in yesterday’s first round. Remarking on Lynch’s hard-working persona, former MGA Tournament Director Gene Westmoreland said at the awards presentation that he was “extremely proud” of Lynch and the fact that his name will be the third to be engraved on the Westmoreland Cup, the permanent trophy for the MGA Mid-Amateur Championship, which was named in Gene’s honor.
The MGA Mid-Amateur is an invitational open to players 35 and older from across the Met Area, and the top 15 finishers today receive an exemption into next year’s championship at GlenArbor Golf Club in Bedford, N.Y. Those finishers included Kirk Kashevaroff of Tuxedo, Hans Albertsson of Bethpage, Bryan Pendrick of Oyster Bay, and Ed Gibstein of Engineers, who all tied for sixth place at eight-over 148.
View results for Metropolitan Golf Association Mid-Amateur Golf Championship