The 116th Middle Atlantic Amateur Championship was spared the onslaught of the remnants of Hurricane Ian for the final round on Saturday as the weather system, downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone, split apart and passed by to the east and west of Rockville, Maryland. The break in the weather was a gift from the golfing gods. A handful of short-lived showers passed through and play continued unabated to the finish. With just under 3/4″ of rain Friday night, the golf course softened up just a little.
Round one was a challenge as cool temperatures and a strong northerly breeze, combined with firm fairways and firmer (and very fast) putting greens punished the players. Played at 7,000 yards/par 72 it was all the course anyone wanted, especially those in the morning wave. Ethan Mangum
(Williamsburg, VA) and Andy Butler (Philadelphia, PA) set the pace with 71’s. Sebastien Bonte (Arlington, VA), 2022 WMGA Metropolitan Amateur Champion, was one back at even par 72. The rest of the field was spread out behind those three.
The second round, with the course stretched to 7,150 yards, and played under slightly calmer conditions, was about the same in terms of scoring with just three players matching par: Kevin Grady (Catonsville, MD) current Maryland Mid-Amateur Champion (he also won that event in 2018, 2019, and 2020), Travis Benson (Vienna, VA), and Ryan Richardson (Nottingham, MD).
Benson, with rounds of 73-72–145 took the lead into the final round. Mangum along with Butler shot 75’s and fell one back of Benson. Butler, fresh off a victory in the Pennsylvania Mid-Amateur Championship a week earlier was looking to claim another crown.
With the possibility of heavy rains overnight and through the day Saturday, the possibility of a cancellation of round three loomed. But that’s when the golfing gods intervened and split the storm, with the heaviest rain east. Play started on time at 8:00 a.m. off both sides. The wind had turned and was blowing steady from the east-southeast, with some strong gusts from time to time. The plan to lengthen the course a bit more for the final round was scrapped and no one complained.
Benson’s lead vanished quickly as he struggled early and could not get in good rhythm, making five bogeys and one birdie to go out in 40 and struggle the rest of the day. Richardson suffered a similar fate, returning a 79 for the day after going out in 38. Grady, was close but the putts would not drop when he needed them. A 41 going out sealed his fate and a 35 inbound was not enough to close the gap. Butler fought hard for a closing 77 and could not close the distance with Mangum either. Mangum birdied the first, added a birdie on 7, and sprinkled the rest of his front with 3 bogeys for a 37 at the turn. Two birdies and four bogeys on the back brought him home with a 38 and a 75, good enough for a two-shot victory over the field: 71-75-75–221 (+5).
Logan Reilly (Lovettsville, VA) earned low junior player with a three-day total of 223. Reilly, just 16 and a high school sophomore, was runner-up in the VSGA Júnior Stroke Play this summer at River Bend G & CC in Great Falls, VA. River Bend is the host of the Middle Atlantic Amateur in 2023. He lost to an eagle by Samir Davidov in a playoff. Both Reilly and Davidov played at Woodmont and will most certainly be at River Bend – two players to watch in 2023. Tucker Sampson (Gaithersburg, MD) a newly minted senior at 55, was the low senior at 225. Low round on the third day belonged to Bennett Espenshade (Baltimore, Md) with a 71 and a three-day total of 225.
About Ethan Mangum
Ethan Mangum was born in Jackson, Miss. and started to play golf early – at two years of age. Both a standout student and athlete, Mangum also played high school baseball and football. His college golf career started at Drexel University. He transferred to Florida A & M where he played on the golf team and graduated in 2021 with a degree in Sociology and Law.
After graduation, and a year of eligibility remaining, he enrolled in the two-year business program in pursuit of a Masters Degree in Business Administration at the College of William and Mary and played on the golf team. His stint on the golf team at W & M was outstanding. Of particular note was his performance at the Howard University ‘Bison Invitational’ played at Woodmont CC in the fall of 2021 where he finished second. That experience certainly helped this week.
This past winter Ethan was named the inaugural Pathway Player in the Genesis Invitational Collegiate Showcase and sat atop the leaderboard after three-straight birdies to open the round. He finished in 11th with a 75. (Three-time Middle Atlantic Amateur winner Michael Brennan won the event.) Ethan joins a long list of outstanding Middle Atlantic Amateur Champions, a champion both on and off the golf course.
The 116th Middle Atlantic was dedicated to John Stewart, a long-time sportswriter for the Baltimore Sun. During his writing career and well after into retirement, John was the pen of amateur golf throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. For over twenty years he covered the tournaments of the Middle Atlantic GA and the Maryland State GA, as well as other regional events, as a volunteer. He was dedicated to the MAGA and MSGA and their competitors, and could be found at the scoring table of all of their events year after year. John passed away on Thursday, August 4, at the age of 91.
ABOUT THE Middle Atlantic Amateur
54-hole stroke play championship. The field is cut to
the low 60 scores and ties after round two. Open to
members of member clubs of the Middle Atlantic
Association, and by invitation.
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