Several Met Area Players Competing in U.S. Mid-Amateur
ELMSFORD, N.Y. (September 5, 2012) – Sixteen of the most talented Met Area players in the over-25 age group will compete on one of the brightest stages in amateur golf when the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship begins on Saturday, September 8th at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Illinois.
The starting field of 264 players from around the world will be vying to etch their names in the USGA record books and earn a number of exemptions that go to the winner, including entry into the 2013 and ‘14 U.S. Amateurs, exemption from local qualifying for the 2013 U.S. Open, and a coveted spot in the Masters Tournament next April. But in order to do so, they must first survive 36 holes of stroke play qualifying in order to be among the top 64 competitors who advance to match play, which begins on Monday, September 10 and culminates with the 36-hole final match on Thursday, September 13.
Two Met Area players are exempt into this year’s field: 15-time MGA champion George Zahringer III of New York, N.Y., and former Met Amateur champion Mike Stamberger of Brielle, N.J. The 59-year-old Zahringer, who won the U.S. Mid-Amateur in 2002 at the Stanwich Club, is one of the most successful players in Met Area history and has a wealth of experience in national and international competition. In addition to playing on the 2003 Walker Cup team, Zahringer has competed in the U.S. Senior Open (he was a two-time low amateur, in 2007 and ’05), the U.S. Senior Amateur, the 2003 Masters, and is a 10-time MGA Player of the Year.
Stamberger, 40, won the 2003 Met Amateur at Somerset Hills and will compete in his fourth U.S. Mid-Amateur. He is a two-time quarterfinalist in the championship, in 2011 and 2008. Stamberger is having another steady season, with a T-6 finish at the Ike and T-25 at the Met Open. He was also recently selected to represent New Jersey in the USGA Men’s State Team Championship in mid-September.
Looking to keep pace with Stamberger is his fellow New Jersey Men’s State Team member, Brian Komline of Bridgewater, N.J. The 38-year-old Komline’s 2012 accomplishments include winning the NJSGA Mid-Amateur Championship and earning stroke play medalist honors at the Met Amateur, where he also advanced to the quarterfinals. The former NJSGA Player of the Year (2008 and 2007) is currently in third place in the Polo Golf MGA Player of the Year Points Standings.
Just one year over the age requirement at 26, Matt Mattare of New York, N.Y., will be playing in his first USGA event at Conway Farms. New to the Met Area, Mattare made a name for himself with his stellar runner-up finish in the Met Amateur. Another player who is having a great summer season is 2009 MGA Senior Amateur champion and veteran USGA championship competitor Al Small of Florham Park, N.J. Small, 60, will play in his fourth U.S. Mid-Amateur after having just finished as the low amateur and tied for fourth in the MGA Senior Open at Garden City Country Club. He won the NJSGA Senior Amateur Championship in late July and competed in the Ike, Met Amateur, and Met Open.
Another top contender is two-time MGA Player of the year Joe Saladino of Huntington, N.Y. Saladino, 32, reached the Round of 16 at the 2010 U.S. Mid-Amateur at Atlantic Golf Club and looks to build on that performance with an even deeper run this year. Saladino will be competing against Komline and Stamberger not only in the U.S. Mid-Am, but also in the USGA Men’s State Team Championship in mid-September as a member of the New York team.
The Met Area will be well-represented at Conway Farms, with ten other local residents in the field. Golfers from New Jersey include Vikram Ashok of Manalapan, Bryan Kim of Paramus, Michael Paduano of Shrewsbury, Trevor Randolph of Cliffside Park, and Greg Stebbins of Hoboken.
Joining them will be Ryan Williams of Westbury, N.Y., Craig Burmeister of New York, N.Y.; Adam Pecora of Oyster Bay, N.Y.; West Streib of New York, N.Y.; and David Zullin of Hopewell Junction, N.Y.
Conway Farms Golf Club, located outside of Chicago in Lake Forest, Illinois, has an extensive championship pedigree in just 20 years of existence. This is the club’s second USGA championship, having also hosted the 1998 U.S. Junior. The PGA Tour will hold the BMW Championship, part of the FedEx Cup playoffs, at the club in 2013, and Conway Farms was also the site of the 2009 Western Amateur, the 2006 Big Ten Championship, and the 1997 Men’s NCAA Division I Championship. The Tom Fazio-designed course stretches to more than 7,000 yards at a par of 71, and will provide a challenging venue for these mid-amateurs. The second course used during the stroke play portion of the championship is the nearby Knollwood Club, also in Lake Forest.