Michael Karger Wins 7th MGA Mid-Amateur
LINCOLNDALE, N.Y. (October 1, 2013) – Michael Karger of Century didn’t begin the final round of the MGA Mid-Amateur the way he would’ve liked. But he sure liked the way it ended.
The 42-year-old opened with a bogey and found himself six shots back of first round leader Trevor Randolph of Arcola. Seven birdies, an eagle and a competitive amateur course record 7-under 65 later, Karger found himself the winner of the 7th Mid-Amateur Championship at the picturesque Anglebrook Golf Club in Lincolndale, N.Y. His 36-hole score of 137 tied the event’s lowest total ever, set last year by Mark Henderson at the Meadow Brook Club. His 65 is the second lowest round in the championship’s history.
“Literally, it was the best round of my life,” said Karger, who recently won the 24th MGA Father & Son Net Championship with his dad Tom (who was also on the bag for him on Tuesday). “It was thrilling, because he [Tom] got to see all the great shots.”
With the win, Karger becomes the first player to win both the MGA Mid-Amateur and WGA Mid-Amateur, which he captured last year. He also gets to hoist the Westmoreland Cup, named after Gene Westmoreland, the MGA's longtime directore of rules and competitions.
“My expectations today were just to play a good round,” he said. “I hit the ball really well yesterday and actually played with Trevor, who is an absolute gentleman. What a thrill this is!”
Following birdies on 14, 15, and 17, Karger, who played in his first MGA event at the 1995 Met Amateur at his home club, nearly chipped in on the 18th hole for a 64. His 65 broke the previous amateur competitive course record of 66 set by Phillipe-Andre Bannon of Quebec, Canada during a 2007 U.S. Amateur sectional qualifier.
It was Randolph who was the story for much of the championship. Playing in the final group with Henderson after a first round 5-under 67, Randolph turned with a bogey-free 2-under 34. He was cruising until he reached the 141-yard 17th hole, where he recorded his first double bogey of the competition.
“I was in between clubs on 17,” said Randolph, who recently won the NJSGA Mid-Amateur and finished as the runner-up in the Met Amateur. “It was playing a little downwind and I was a little juiced up so I hit a gap wedge. And I just slipped, I slipped on the tee box. I want to say it was a mental error, but I can’t. That’s just the way it goes.”
Randolph’s bid for birdie on the final hole came up a few inches short and he had to settle for his second consecutive runner-up finish in an MGA championship.
“Mike’s a real quality guy, I’m happy for him,” Randolph added.
Henderson of Saint Andrew’s began the day one off the lead but a bogey on the second and triple on the par 5 4th hole derailed his chances of a repeat. He finished the day with a 73 (141 total) and a third place finish.
Alan Specht of Wheatley Hills shot even par to match his 1-under 71 first round to take fourth place (143). 2011 champion Niall Handley of Essex Fells and Michael O’Connell of North Jersey both shot second round 70s to finish T5.
Patrick Pierson of Minisceongo used a hole-in-one on the par 3 17th to help him take seventh place (145). Joe Sommers of Winged Foot and Nick Desai of Baltusrol totaled 148s to tie for eighth, while Chris O’Keefe of Bethpage finished alone in 10th (149).
Two-time MGA Mid-Am winner Dennis Lynch of Nassau Players finished T11 (150) and the inaugural MGA Mid-Am winner Michael Reardon of Tuxedo finished T33 (157).
Hosting its first MGA championship, Anglebrook, the final design of renowned architect Robert Trent Jones, Sr., posed a great challenge for the field of seasoned competitors. The classically designed course, which opened in May 1998, features quick, undulating greens and scenic landscapes. It played to a par 72 of 6,545 yards for the final round.
Thanks to a group of dedicated volunteers, live hole-by-hole scoring was provided for most of the field during the final round. Full coverage, including photos, video, and results can be found on mgagolf.org.