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Ike Championship: St. John's golfer holds lead

BERNARDSVILLE, N.J. (June 27, 2011) – St. John’s University junior Pat Wilson of Panther Valley shot a four-under-par 66 and holds the lead after the first round of the 56th Ike Championship presented by Canon Business Solutions. Wilson, 20, took advantage of his early morning tee time and the ideal scoring conditions at Somerset Hills Country Club, making five birdies to just one bogey.

David Pastore Wilson was joined near the top of the leaderboard by his soon-to-be teammate, incoming freshman Dylan Crowley of Glen Cove, who posted a three-under-par 67. Two-time Met Junior and 2010 Carter Cup champion David Pastore of Griff Harris finished with a one-under-par 69, in an up-and-down round featuring seven birdies, four bogeys, and one double bogey. Last year’s MGA/MetLife Public Links champion, Brian Komline of Black Oak, came back from a rough start (four over par through six holes) to post an even-par 70, as did 2009 Met Open low amateur and Yale sophomore Sam Bernstein of Century, as well as Conor Casey of Madison. They are the only six players among the morning starters to shoot par or better.

“The [low] number is out there,” said Wilson, whose 66 is tied for the second-best first round in Ike history. “You can make some birdies, and if you hit it to the right spots on the green you can really make putts and be aggressive. I held it together nicely on the back nine after making those four birdies on the front, so I was happy with that.”

This is Wilson’s first appearance in the Ike, and he spoke about what he hopes to bring to Tuesday as the overnight leader.

“I’ve had leads before, and I want to continue to move forward,” he said. “I shot 65 in the third round of New Jersey Am last year and got real close, but then fell back. I want to come out tomorrow strong and not drop any shots early.”

Crowley finished a little more than an hour after Wilson and his three-under 67 was a strong comeback from an opening double bogey on the par-four 10th, which was the most difficult hole on the course. Crowley’s drive on that hole, his first of the day, plugged in the face of a bunker. He then birdied four holes on the back nine to make the turn in two-under.

“It’s a tremendous golf course, probably one of the best I’ve played in the northeast,” said Crowley. “It’s very traditional, which is something I’ve always preferred.”

The 18-hole cut came at 7-over 77, with a large group of 57 players surviving to advance to the Ike’s 36-hole second day. Eight players are within five strokes of Pat Wilson’s lead, setting the stage for an exciting final day over one of the most highly regarded golf courses in the Met Area.

Two-time Met Amateur champion (2008 & 2006) Tommy McDonagh of Shorehaven shot a one-over 71 and came into the Ike riding a wave of confidence after a win this past week at the Connecticut Amateur. “My game is as good as it’s ever been,” said McDonagh. “My plan is to continue to hit fairways and keep the ball below the hole so I can put myself in good spots to make birdies.”

Joining McDonagh at 71 is 2008 Carter Cup champion Curtis Loop of New Canaan, along with 49-year-old Ned Zachar of GlenArbor.

McDonagh’s fellow Shorehaven member, 2009 Met Amateur champion Cameron Wilson, put together a solid round of two-over 72, one of the lowest scores in the afternoon. After playing his first nine holes in four over par, Wilson birdied three out of the first six holes on his back nine [Somerset’s front nine], to finish at two over par and remain in contention heading into the 36-hole finale.

“I got off to a miserable start, which was frustrating,” said Wilson. “But when I made the turn, I hit a couple good tee shots and made three or four putts within ten or fifteen feet and that got me going.”

Among the other five players finishing with a 72 is 14-year-old Cameron Young of Sleepy Hollow. Young, the son of Sleepy Hollow head professional David Young, recently won the Westchester Amateur and competed in the Stoddard Trophy Matches at Friar’s Head, partnering with Cameron Wilson in the team matches.

The sun shone all day on the Ike, and the 6,673-yard, par-70 Somerset Hills layout proved more than up to the task. The 10th hole played as the hardest hole during round one, with a stroke average of 4.8. The course average was 77.8, with a hole-in-one being recorded on the par-three 12th hole by Joel Lulla of Bethpage. Lulla hit an 8-iron on the 151-yard hole.

View results for Metropolitan Golf Association IKE Golf Championship "The Ike"

ABOUT THE The "Ike"

The Ike tournament was founded in 1953 by Daily News sportswriter Dana Mozley and nurtured through the years by Mozley and former MGA President George Sands. Although always immensely popular, the event suffered during the late 1970s and early ‘80s after The Daily News dropped its sponsorship. In 1986, the MGA (with the financial support of MetLife) purchased the rights to the Ike. With the MGA’s involvement, the event regained its stature and quickly became the area’s premier stroke-play amateur event. The Ike today attracts more entries than any other MGA championship for individuals. The Ike is Open to male golfers who are members of an MGA member club. (courtesy Metropolitan G.A.)

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