MGA/WMGA French-American Team Announced

ELMSFORD, N.Y. (September 27, 2016) – The French-American Challenge Matches return to home soil October 18 and 19 when the MGA/WMGA welcomes competitors from the Ligue de Golf de Paris to The Stanwich Club in Greenwich, Conn., for the 18th edition of the biennial competition. The two squads—both comprised of six men and four women—will compete in fourball, foursomes, and singles matches to decide a victor over the two days of play.

Related: Meet Team MGA/WMGA | French-American Challenge History

The matches have been historically dominated by the Ligue de Golf de Paris, who own a 14-1-2 record since the event’s inception in 1990; however, the MGA/WMGA team aims to halt that trend behind a very capable team of the Met Area’s best amateur golfers. This year’s team will be co-captained by former MGA President and 10-time international team member Al Small and WMGA President Valerie DePiro, while MGA President Steve Boyd will serve as an honorary captain.

This year’s team features an incredibly accomplished group of golfers who are all having outstanding 2016 seasons, perhaps none more than this year’s Met Amateur champion and recently crowned U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Stewart Hagestad of Deepdale. The 25-year-old’s game has been sharp having earned both titles within the last two months. This will be Hagestad’s first appearance in the French-American Challenge, one year after making his debut on an MGA international team in the 2015 Carey Cup. Hagestad will look to continue his recent match play success against the French. Similarly to Hagestad, Darin Goldstein of Noyac will be making his first appearance in the French-American Challenge, following up his competition on the Carey Cup team in 2015. Goldstein claimed the 2016 Long Island Amateur early in the summer, qualified for the U.S. Amateur, and recently advanced to match play at the U.S. Mid-Amateur. He also made match play runs in both the Travis Memorial and Havemeyer Memorial this summer, advancing to the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively.

Trevor Randolph of Arcola and Brian Komline of Black Oak bring the most MGA international team experience to this year’s squad, both having competed on the French-American and Carey Cup teams in past years. Randolph has logged a trio of victories this season, winning the Hochster Memorial, and the Travis Invitational, while also earning his third NJSGA Mid-Am title. He also advanced to match play at the U.S. Mid-Amateur. Meanwhile, Komline recently claimed the Bergen County Amateur and earlier this summer finished as runner-up in the NJSGA Mid-Am and competed in match play at the Met Amateur. Randolph and Komline’s skill is sure to be impactful for the MGA/WMGA squad, but the pair’s experience will also be useful in leading the team’s newcomers, including 16-year old Ethan Ng of Fiddler’s Elbow and 20-year old Paul Pastore of Griff Harris. Ng has had an outstanding season, winning the Carter Cup at Winged Foot, finishing as runner-up at the Met Amateur, and competing in his first U.S. Amateur. Pastore has also put together a quality season, making match play in his first U.S. Amateur appearance, registering a top-10 in the MGA Ike Championship, and tying for third low amateur at the 101st Met Open. Pastore’s brother, David, competed in the Matches in 2014.

Prior to their team competition in the French-American Challenge, Hagestad (NY), Randolph (NJ) and Komline (NJ) will compete for their respective states at the USGA’s Men’s State Team Championship, September 28-30 at Country Club of Birmingham in Birmingham, Ala.

All four WMGA representatives will be competing in their first French-American Challenge, led by former LPGA Tour professional Tara Fleming of New Jersey National. Recently, the 49-year old has competed in a pair of U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur championships in addition to the U.S. Women’s Four-Ball and two Women’s State Team championships—serving as a playing captain for team New Jersey’s 2013 title. Her latest accomplishments include a win at the Garden State Women’s Round Robin Match Play Championship, runner-up honors at the NJSGA Women’s Mid-Am, and a semifinalist appearance at the NJSGA Women’s Amateur. The veteran Fleming will look to lead her fellow teammates, Ina Kim of Deepdale, Kyra Cox of Centennial, and Kelly Sim of Alpine. Kim, 33, is a California native who played golf collegiately for Northwestern and moved to Manhattan last year. She has quickly come onto the Met Area golf scene, claiming the WMGA/MGA Met Amateur and WMGA Stroke Play championships this season. Meanwhile, Cox and Sim, both 16, are rising Met Area stars. Cox claimed the 2015 New York State Women’s Amateur title, and this year qualified for her first USGA Championships, making match play at the U.S. Girls’ Junior and competing in the U.S. Women’s Amateur. In April, Cox competed in the 2016 Drive, Chip & Putt National Finals at Augusta National Golf Club. Sim is the 2015 and 2016 NJSIAA Girls’ Champion, and qualified for the U.S. Girls’ Junior each of the last two years. She also claimed the 2015 NJSGA Women’s Amateur and this year added a title at the AJGA Junior Golf Hub Championship.

The French will once again field a highly talented team which includes six competitors from previous matches: Morgane Bazin de Jessey, Perrine Petit Gouin, Anyssia Herbaut, Benjamin Morin, Christophe Ravetto, and Hugo Rouillon. Newcomers Mathilde Claisse, Adrien Pendaries, Aymeric Laussot and Pierre Mazier round out the Ligue’s 2016 squad.

The Stanwich Club, founded in 1963, will serve as an outstanding venue for the French-American Challenge, with its tree-lined fairways and quick, back-to-front sloping greens providing a quality test for every competitor. Stanwich is one of 16 clubs that have hosted all three MGA Majors (the Ike, Met Amateur, and Met Open). It has hosted the Met Amateur on three occasions, last being in 2013, and the Met Open twice.

While the competition begins on Tuesday, October 18, an Am-Am competition will precede the matches on Monday, October 17. The Am-Am is a fundraising event that pairs each of the 20 team members from both teams with other amateurs in a best ball gross and net format, similar to a Pro-Am, with proceeds benefiting the MGA’s charitable Foundation. Those interested in participating in the Am-Am are asked to contact MGA Foundation Director Peter Nicholson by phone (914-909-4878) or email (pnicholson@mgagolf.org).

Full coverage of the French-American Challenge will be provided by the MGA. Live scoring, daily recaps, interviews, and photos will be available on mgagolf.org. Additional coverage can be tracked on the MGA’s social media outlets, with Twitter (@MGA1897), Snapchat (mgagolf1897), and Instagram (@mga1897) providing live, behind-the-scenes content.

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