MGA Wins Carey Cup at Bethpage; First Victory Since 1996

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (October 20, 2011) – The Carey Cup is back in the hands of the MGA for the first time since 1996. Carrying the momentum from the first day of play, the six-man MGA squad jumped out to leads in many of the six singles matches during today’s final day of competition against the Golfing Union of Ireland at Bethpage Black in theGovernor Hugh L. Carey Challenge Cup presented by Mutual of America. Of the six matches, three were won outright by the MGA with one halved and the other two finishing in favor of the GUI. The MGA entered the singles leading 4 to 2, and claimed the Carey Cup with a final score of 7 ½ to 4 ½.

While many of the matches remained close early on, it was the MGA’s 50-year-old Dennis Lynch, who was competing in his first Carey Cup, who proved to be the stalwart. Playing on his home course of Bethpage Black, the two-time MGA Mid-Amateur champion jumped out to a 4-up lead through four holes. It would prove to be the cushion he would need as he cruised to a 5 & 4 victory over Aaron Kearney.

“Just to be asked to play by Al was special,” Lynch said with a smile on his face after the victory. “The plan was to come out today and have a good and fun day, it was the best match I had all week.” The eldest member of the MGA team outside of captain Al Small, Lynch talked about some of the advice he gave to the younger members of the team. I told them: “It’s a team event, just try as hard as you can, and have fun with it.”

After the early victory by Lynch, the Carey Cup was getting closer and closer to being in the possession of the MGA, and a halve by Mike Miller in his match against Walker Cupper Alan Dunbar helped, putting the MGA ahead with a 5 ½ to 3 ½ advantage. With only one more point needed to secure the cup, the MGA was ahead in the Clancy Waugh vs. Gary McDermott match, as well as the Joe Saladino vs. Niall Gorey contest.

Standing on the tee of the challenging par-four 15th hole, Waugh held a 1-up lead over McDermott. After hitting a terrific wedge onto the green, Waugh two-putted for par, stretching his lead to 2-up with three holes to play. The two then halved the 16th hole with bogeys, and Waugh was dormie two to secure at least the half-point.

Waugh, the second-youngest member of the MGA team, was riding on a high as he spoke with the media after the final putt dropped. “I’m honored to have been picked to be part of this team. To be 16 and to be picked is a really cool thing.” Cool indeed, as the teenager went 3-0 in his matches throughout the week.

While Waugh was close to closing out his match, Saladino’s 3-up lead dropped to 2-up as Gorey sank a clutch par on the par-3 14th. Saladino rebounded with a birdie on the 15th hole to get back to 3-up, and closed out the match with a conceded par on the 16th hole, posting the winning point for the MGA.

A veteran of eight MGA international matches, Saladino was proud of the team’s accomplishment. “Every one that you lose builds up in your memory bank and makes you hungrier [for the next competition]. The team gelled really well. Everything seemed easy with this team.” Like Lynch, Saladino is quite familiar with the renowned layout. “Bethpage has been a special place to me, I have played a lot of events here. To be almost right in my backyard and get it [the win] means a lot.”

In the other matches, the GUI’s Dermot McElroy beat Cameron Young 1-up and Conor Casey fell to Richard O’Donovan 1-up as well.

This marks the third win for the MGA in this event, and the first since 1996 at Hudson National Golf Club. In two years, the 2013 edition of the matches will take place across the pond in Ireland.

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