[photo courtesy of Metropolitan Golf Association]
LAUREL, New York (August 4, 2017) – Following two rounds of matches Friday in the 115th Met Amateur Championship, the semifinal round is now set at Laurel Links Country Club heading in to Saturday, with Bradley Lankler of Fiddler’s Elbow, James Nicholas of Deepdale, Matt Mattare of Darlington and John Felitto of Echo Lake all advancing.
Nicholas and Ethan Ng’s afternoon battle turned out to be the match of the day, as Nicholas used a 12-foot par putt on the 20th hole as he converted an up-and-down to defeat the 2016 Met Amateur runner-up.
“That was a championship-caliber match,” said Nicholas after the hard-fought victory. “Ethan had me, 3-up after six. I was even-par and he was 3-under-par.” But, as play continued, Nicholas began to chip away, winning Nos. 7 and 8 with a par and birdie. “It was good golf going in and I ended up hitting a couple shots close and making some putts finally,” continued Nicholas, who defeated Luke Graboyes of Watchung Valley, 1-up, in the morning. A par-three on the 11th cut the deficit to just one, while a birdie on the par-three 14th pulled the match all square with four to play. Ng scrambled for a saving par-five on the 17th and a halve on the 18th sent the match to extras.
Ng scrambled again on the first hole as his second shot came up short and right in the fescue. He hacked the ball to the back fringe, then got up and down for par, making a 5-foot putt. While both came up left on the second extra hole, Nicholas converted the up-and-down for the win. Both of Ng’s matches went extra holes Friday, as he roared back against Christopher Yeom with 20 and 45-foot birdies on Nos. 17 and 18 before winning with par in 19 holes.
For Nicholas, who advanced to the semifinals in both the WGA and LIGA Amateurs this summer, having his brother on the bag has helped keep the mood light on the course. “He’s been doing a great job,” said Nicholas. “He’s only 12 years old and he’s out here just lugging that bag. It’s just a great time.”
Nicholas will face Lankler, who edged Johnny Schob of Winged Foot 1-up in the morning and defeated Evan Grenus of Sterling Farms 2-and-1 in the afternoon.
“It was hard. The wind picked up pretty early,” said Lankler, who tied for low qualifying score over Thursday’s 36 holes of play. “It was kind of finding the combination of what to attack, what to play safe on, but then again it all depended upon what your opponent shot. If he stuck it close on a hard shot, you have to go for it.”
Lankler fell 2-down through three holes against Schob, but won four holes from Nos. 4-15 to gain a 3-hole advantage. Schob pushed the match to 18 after winning Nos. 16 and 17 with birdies, but a halve on the last sent Lankler to the afternoon.
The other semifinal will be a matchup between a pair of Fighting Irish, as current Notre Dame golfer Felitto and Notre Dame grad Mattare will square off. Both have been on top of their game and registered convincing wins in both rounds on Friday. Felitto defeated Darin Goldstein of Deepdale, 5-and-3, before using four birdies to beat Dawson Jones of Jumping Brook, 7-and-6, in the afternoon.
Mattare won Nos. 7, 8, and 9 to take a 3-up advantage over Tyler Cline of Tuxedo Club in the morning, eventually taking a 4-and-3 victory. Against MGA eClub member Vinay Ramesh in the afternoon, Mattare fell 2-down early, but once again strung together three-straight wins and took a 1-up lead. Ramesh returned the match to all-square with a birdie on the par-four 11th, but Mattare won Nos. 13-16—two with birdies—to seal the match by a 4-and-2 margin. Mattare is looking to make his second appearance in the Met Am finals, having finished as runner-up to Ryan McCormick in 2012 at Hollywood.
Semifinal play is slated to begin at 12:00 p.m., Saturday, with live hole-by-hole scores available once again. The two winners will match up in Sunday’s 36-hole championship match.
Laurel Links has been a stern test for the competitors and also an outstanding venue for the match play format, allowing for a variety of exciting options for course setup. Players have raved about the stunning links-style layout, its surrounding fescue, and challenging greens as it hosts its first MGA championship.
View results for MET Amateur
ABOUT THE MET Amateur
The competition is open to male Amateur
members of MGA Member Clubs who have a
current USGA Handicap Index of 5.0 or less
and to those exempted by the MGA
Committee. All entrants are subject to the
MGA Rules and Regulations.
Format of play:
18 hole sectional qualifying round.
play 36 hole on-site qualifying round,
determining 16 players for match play.
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