Medalist, Edfort to semis at MGA Amateur

LOCUST VALLEY, N.Y. (August 5, 2011)– Day two of the 109th Met Amateur featured close matches, convincing wins, and moments of redemption as 16 players were weeded down to four after two rounds of match play on another beautiful day at the Piping Rock Club. 

Stroke play medalist and #1 seed Alex Edfort of Neshanic Valley once again proved that he is in full command of his game as he won both of his matches 5 & 4, the two largest margins of victory on the day. Edfort, who defeated Carter Rufe of Red Hook in the quarterfinal round, will face Sam Bernstein of Century in the first semifinal match, which begins at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 6. The second semifinal match features Mike Miller of Knollwood squaring off against Matt Lowe of Colonial Springs at 12:10 p.m. It is collectively the youngest group of semifinalists in Met Amateur history, as Miller, Bernstein and Edfort are all 19 years old and Lowe is 15.

Mike Miller“I got on a stretch on the front nine this morning where I won five in a row [holes three through seven],” Edfort, a rising junior on the golf team at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, said after his afternoon match. “I was playing really solid and didn’t open any doors for him [Conor Casey]. I continued playing that way this afternoon as I birdied the first hole and played steady all the way through. It means a lot to be back in the semifinals. After last year I was disappointed, but I hope to play my best in the upcoming matches and maybe win the title.”

Bernstein will be a tough matchup for Edfort. The Yale University sophomore has been in a groove on the undulating, difficult greens at Piping Rock, rolling in four clutch putts on holes four through seven of his quarterfinal match against three-time MGA tournament winner David Pastore of Griff Harris Men’s Club.

“I gave myself good opportunities and I think that’s really the key out here,” said Bernstein. “The greens are tough, but you can make putts if you put a good stroke on it.” Bernstein was the low amateur at the 2009 Met Open championship at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, N.J., and was the winner of this year’s Arcola Cup.

After losing to 14-year-old Cameron Young of Sleepy Hollow in the semifinals of the Westchester Amateur earlier this season, 2010 Met Junior champion Mike Miller exacted his revenge in the form of a 2-up quarterfinal victory. With a 1-up lead heading into the final hole, Miller blasted a drive deep down the fairway. Young found the fescue off to the right and, after attempting a long recovery, found the left-hand rough. Miller’s second shot reached the green while Young missed the green left. After Miller’s lag putt settled to within two feet, Young conceded the hole and the match.

Miller’s semifinal opponent is the 2010 MGA/MetLife Boys winner, Matt Lowe of Colonial Springs. Lowe was able to overcome his quarterfinal opponent, Max Buckley of Westchester, 4 & 3. Lowe held a 3-up lead after seven holes, and the two competitors exchanged victories on the 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th holes before Lowe was able to turn the afterburners on and close out the match on the 15th hole.

“The first round really had me on my heels today, as he took me all the way to the end,” Lowe recalled before heading back to the range after his quarterfinal victory. “The second round went a little smoother but still wasn’t that easy. The guy [Buckley] is amazing. I mean, he’s going to be playing in the U.S. Amateur in a few weeks. The plan for tomorrow is to just go out and play my game.”

In the morning Round of 16, five of the eight matches went 17 holes or longer. In what was heralded as one of the most entertaining matches to watch, Bernstein defeated Ryan McCormick of Suburban Golf Club in 19 holes. McCormick was 1-down to Bernstein heading to the 18th hole, but made a birdie on the 538-yard par five to extend the match. However, it was short-lived as Bernstein dropped a birdie putt of his own on the first extra hole to move on to the quarterfinals with the win.

The other quarterfinal matches saw Edfort cruise to a 5 & 4 victory over Casey; Rufe defeat Anthony Aloi of MGA eClub - New Jersey, 2 & 1; Pastore beat two-time Met Amateur winner Tommy McDonagh of Shorehaven. 4 & 3; Young escape Stu Kaufman of Westchester, 2 up; Miller defeat Dan Abbondandolo of Brookville, 1 up; Buckley beat Troy Spencer of Essex County, 2 & 1; and Lowe defeat Michael Furci of St. George’s in 19 holes.

Saturday’s 18-hole semifinal matches will be played at 12:00 and 12:10. The two semifinal winners will face off in Sunday’s 36-hole finale at 7:30 a.m. for the chance to be the 109th winner of the Met Amateur Championship. Live scoring and updates will be ongoing throughout the weekend on www.mgagolf.org.

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