Metropolitan G.A. Amateur: Mark Costanza earns medalist honors
Mark Costanza (Metropolitan Golf Association Photo)
Mark Costanza (Metropolitan Golf Association Photo)

Rounds of 68-67 on Thursday propelled two-time MGA Player of the Year Mark Costanza of Baltusrol to medalist honors and the top seed in the 121st Met Amateur Championship at Friar’s Head.

Costanza’s morning 4-under 68 was bogey free, while the three-time MGA champion’s afternoon round included seven birdies, a bogey and a double bogey.

“It’s a test of your physical stamina and your mental fortitude as well,” said Costanza as the championship moves to match play. “I’ll just continue doing what I’m doing, leave myself in good spots. I think birdies will come naturally, but just try not to force anything.”

Past Met Junior champion Christian Cavaliere of Hudson National and two-time Carter Cup winner Ethan Ng of Knickerbocker finished the day at 6-under 136. Cavaliere registered just three bogeys on the day while Ng had just two.

Edmund Broderick set the morning pace with a 6-under 65 before a 1-over 72 in the afternoon as the winds picked up. Broderick made the most of the par-5 seventh, making eagle and birdie on the hole, Thursday. Broderick finished at 5-under alongside Josh German of Seawane, who registered scores of 67-70 on the day. German birdied Nos. 1, 6 and 14 in both rounds.

Host Friar’s Head has a pair of representatives in the bracket, as founder and managing member Ken Bakst and Charlie Berridge both posted 4-under 138 totals. Bakst, a past Met Amateur champion who won the MGA’s Senior Amateur down the road at Baiting Hollow in May, took the No. 6 seed and Berridge the No. 7 seed.

“This afternoon was really hard,” said Bakst, who also competed in the 2008 Met Amateur at Friar’s Head. “The wind really kicked up and I was cramping in every part of my legs, so I was just happy to get it done.”

Bakst rolled in eight birdies in the morning round and seven more in the afternoon. His 15 birdies bested the field by five, with Berridge, Costanza and German all carding 10 apiece.

“Home course can be as much a disadvantage as much as an advantage,” said Bakst. “For me, 65 years old, you’re not supposed to play 36 a day, right? The good news is I made match play and the bad news is I have to play in the morning.”

For Berridge, taking what the course would give him was key. “It was just go out there and make a bunch of pars, make birdies when you need to and make big putts when you need to,” said Berridge, who made a 30-footer for bogey on the par-4 first as he made the turn that helped save momentum.

Past MGA Public Links winner and this year’s New York State Open champion Peicheng Chen of Rock Hill, four-time MGA champion Luke Sample of Old Oaks and June’s Ike champion and MGA eClub New Jersey member Melan Dhaubhadel round out the past MGA champions aiming to place their name in the record books once again.

Dhaubhadel and Ben Loomis of Winged Foot advanced out of a 3-for-2 playoff following Thursday’s two rounds.

View results for 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. Qualifiers play 36 hole on-site qualifying round, determining 16 players for match play.

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