Henderson Wins 6th MGA Mid-Amateur
JERICHO, N.Y. (October 3, 2012)– Mark Henderson of Saint Andrew’s didn’t merely take advantage of ideal scoring conditions at the famed Meadow Brook Club in Jericho, N.Y., he put together the best round of golf in the six-year history of the MGA Mid-Amateur Championship. The 36-year-old originally from Barrie, Ontario, carded a nine-birdie, 8-under-par 64 to win his first MGA championship. His outstanding final round broke the record for lowest 18-hole score in the Mid-Amateur by four shots and his two-day total of 137 was also four better than the 36-hole record previously held by former champions Mike Reardon (2007) and Niall Handley (2011).
Henderson, who became a reinstated amateur last fall after stints as a pro on the Canadian and Hooters Tours in the late 1990s, opened with a 1-over 73 on Tuesday and found himself five shots off the lead heading into the final round. But he got his second round started quickly with birdies on three of his first eight holes and figured he’d be in the mix if he kept it going.
“I knew I had to go low, and then things just started to go well for me,” he said. “I was five back to start the day and knew I had to make a bunch of birdies. I started counting down and they kept going in.”
Following a bogey on the tough par-four ninth hole, Henderson let loose on the back nine, coming in with a sensational 6-under 30 to secure the championship. His 64 was one shot off the competitive course record and is believed to be an amateur course record. A former teammate of PGA Tour pro D.A. Points at the University of Illinois, Henderson said he was impressed with how well the course played, especially with the storms the area received over the past 24 hours. “The greens were fast for as much rain we had,” he said. “The course was wonderful and I’m very happy with the way things went today.”
Henderson’s best finish this year was a tie for 24th at the Ike back in June, but said he’s just getting back into form after 10 years away from competitive golf. He played in one PGA Tour event during his professional days, and remarked that it became clear to him that he wouldn’t be able to make a living on tour. He moved to New York in 2001 to start a career in finance, and currently works for Citi Financial. With the victory, Henderson earns an exemption into the 2013 Ike Championship at Wykagyl Country Club and exemptions into the next five MGA Mid-Amateurs.
Hans Albertsson of Hudson Hills, who shared the 18-hole lead with Kevin Purcell of Darlington, finished as the runner-up after an even-par 72. His total of 140 is the second-best 36-hole total in the championship’s history and would have won the championship any other year. Purcell held the lead at the turn but ran into some trouble on the back nine, and followed up his 68 with an 81 to finish tied for 19th.
“I played very well yesterday and struck the ball well through 12 holes today,” Albertsson said. “Unfortunately I bogeyed 13 and 15 and found out I was three behind with a few left. I had about a 20-footer on 16 I knew I needed to make and it just skirted the right edge, and was a little deflated at that point. But it was great playing by Henderson.”
DanGoldstein of Wheatley Hills finished alone in third place with a total of 2-under-par 142. Goldstein got off to a hot start and held the lead through six holes of the final round, but a triple bogey-double bogey finish to his front nine put him four shots off the lead.
NickDesai of Baltusrol and 1996 Ike and 1997 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Ken Bakst of Friar’s Head tied for fourth with totals of 1-under-par 143. The 2003 Met Amateur champion, Mike Stamberger of Plainfield tied for sixth at 144 along with WGA Mid-Am champion Michael Karger of Century. Jeff Putman of Winged Foot and Michael O’Connell of North Jersey tied for eighth with 145s.
There was a four-way tie for 10th with totals of 146, which included 2008 MGA Mid-Amateur champion Greg Rohlf of Winged Foot, Richard Feldman of Centennial, Greg Stebbins of Essex County, and Cory Crelan of MGA eClub - Westchester/Fairfield. Last year’s winner, Niall Handley of Essex Fells, finished tied for 27th with a 153 total.
The top 20 finishers and ties earn an exemption into next year’s championship, which will be held at Anglebrook Golf Club in Lincolndale, N.Y., on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. For complete coverage, including full results, photos, and video, visit mgagolf.org.