Cline takes morning lead at Ike Championship with 6-under 65

WEST ORANGE, N.J. (June 27, 2016)Tyler Cline of The Tuxedo Club opened play at the 61st Ike Championship in record fashion, firing an opening round of 6-under 65 during the morning at Essex County Country Club. His bogey-free round matched the low score in the history of the championship and was just the third 65 to be carded in the first round.

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Not far off the early pace was Essex County’s very own Ryan Snouffer, who carded a 4-under 67 despite playing Nos. 17 and 18 in 3-over-par.

“It was just the putter,” remarked Cline. “I hit the ball pretty good, but to make a couple of 20-footers definitely helps.” Cline had it going early, registering four birdies on his opening seven holes. He appeared to be in trouble on the par-4 10th, after his approach found a deep greenside bunker, but after blasting onto the green, the former Clarkson University golfer drained a 20-footer for par to keep momentum going.

He added two more birdies coming in—on Nos. 16 and 17—for the strong finish. “I drove the ball great and putted great,” said Cline, who has competed in the Boff Invitational and the Stoddard Cup at Essex County in the past. “I kept the ball in play and made a bunch of putts.”

Snouffer—who was unsure of his status for the championship having recently been recovering from a hip injury—was pleased with his round despite limited rounds over the last several weeks. “I was making a lot of putts out there—a lot of the 10-15 footers that you need to make birdies,” he said. “Everything was pretty solid. I made a good eagle on 13—I chipped in. Besides that it was pretty consistent, just a little downfall on the last two holes.”

“I think the key here is missing in the right places,” remarked Snouffer, sharing his personal insight on the course. “There are a lot of tough holes out here and even if the pin is in the center of the green, if you miss in the wrong place you could still have a really tough shot. It would have been good to be three-shots higher than I am now, but I think I’m in a perfect position for tomorrow.”

Kieran Purcell, another member of Essex County, came in at 3-under 68 during the morning’s play. Purcell carded five birdies on the day, four coming in his first eight holes of play.

Jonathan Jeter of Nassau Players added the morning’s final sub-par round at 1-under 71. Jeter played steadily, carding three birdies and just two bogies.

Reigning Met Junior champion James McHugh of Rye GC and eClub Westchester-Fairfield member Paul Pastore each carded rounds of even-par 71.

Facing windy conditions as the morning progressed, six more competitors registered rounds of 1-over 72.

The Ike, contested over 54 holes, will have a cut following Monday’s opening round. The low 40 players (and ties) will advance to Tuesday’s final 36 holes.

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