Stage Set for Final Day at 100th Met Junior
EDISON, N.J. (July 20, 2017) – Following two rounds of match play in the 100th Met Junior Championship Sponsored by MetLife, the stage is set at Plainfield Country Club for Friday’s final day of competition, as Shane DeVincenzo of Port Jefferson, N.Y., William O’Neill of Morristown, N.J., Jake Mayer of Scotch Plains, N.J., and Jack Maguire of Ridgefield, Conn., all advanced after claiming a pair of victories.
DeVincenzo secured the first position, following a 3-and-2 win in the morning over Tyler Wilson of Andover, N.J., and a 1-up victory over Andrew Purse in the afternoon. After never trailing in the morning, DeVincenzo lost his opening hole against Purse—who claimed the final match play position in a playoff then knocked off co-medalist Jackson Fretty of Cos Cob, Conn., in the morning. But, DeVincenzo responded with a birdie on the par-five third hole to square the match. He built a 2-up advantage on two occasions, but Purse looked to rally late by winning the par-five 17th with birdie. DeVincenzo closed strong though, parring the final hole for the 1-up win.
Mayer, who plays out of Plainfield, was the second to earn a spot in Friday’s play. Mayer defeated fellow Plainfield competitor and co-medalist from Wednesday’s stroke play Johnny Bush of Cranford, N.J., 3-and-2, thanks in part to a couple of early birdies. In the afternoon, Mayer’s opponent William Rand of New York City was the one with the hot start, as he grabbed a three-hole advantage through five. Mayer remained patient and took wins on Nos. 6 and 11 to trim Rand’s lead to just one hole, while also making several lengthy putts for halves.
“The last four holes were really intense,” Mayer said to describe the closing stretch. The 18-year old carded birdies on Nos. 16 and 17, quickly flipping a deficit into a 1-up advantage of his own. “I was really just focused on making par and having him make the mistake and he really didn’t,” said Mayer of playing the 18th hole. Rand slid in a tricky, downhill eight-footer for his par, but Mayer followed by draining a six-foot par putt of his own.
“It’s such an honor to be playing it here,” said Mayer of competing in the 100th Met Junior upon his home course. “I’m just happy I made it this far—I’ll go out tomorrow and have some more fun.”
O’Neill locked up his place in the semifinals by defeating Matt Minerva, Jr., of Elmsford, N.Y., in 19 holes in the morning, then Jack Wall of Brielle, N.J., in the afternoon by a 3-and-1 margin. Birdies on Nos. 2 and 3 earned O’Neill the early advantage, which he never relinquished. His fourth birdie in the match pushed his lead to 3-up through 10 holes and, while Wall won a pair of holes on the second nine, two more birdies for O’Neill—on Nos. 15 and 17—closed out the match.
Maguire—the No. 3 and highest remaining seed from Wednesday’s stroke-play qualifying—was taken to extra holes in both of his matches but clinched wins in 20 and 19 holes, respectively to survive. He defeated William Parker of Locust Valley, N.Y., with a birdie-two on the second hole in the morning, while a par-four on the first locked up the final semifinal position.
This week’s 100th Met Junior marks a celebratory occasion, as the MGA becomes the lone golf association with its Open, Amateur and Junior championships having reached the century mark. The Met Junior was established in 1912 behind the efforts of Plainfield’s very own Leighton Caulkins, who welcomed the championship to Plainfield each of its first three years. A celebratory dinner was held at Plainfield on Tuesday night, as past champions and this year’s field joined together to honor the event’s rich history.
The champion will receive 250 points in the race for the MGA Junior Player of the Year Award, Presented by Callaway, and will also earn an exemption in to the AJGA's Junior PLAYERS Championship, August 31 - September 3 at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Live hole-by-hole scoring will be available for all three of Friday’s matches. Semifinal play will begin at 7:50 a.m., while the championship match is tentatively set at 12:30 p.m.
For recaps, photos, interviews and more, continue to visit mgagolf.org and follow the MGA’s social media outlets including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, for additional content throughout the championship.