Randolph, Barnett lead 11th MGA Mid-Am
BAYONNE, N.J. (October 17, 2017) – Two-time reigning champion Trevor Randolph of Arcola and Brad Barnett of Cherry Valley Club stand atop the leaderboard following the opening round of the 11th MGA Mid-Amateur Championship at Bayonne Golf Club. The stunning links-style layout yielded just three additional sub-par scores, despite light winds throughout the day.
Recent U.S. Mid-Amateur quarterfinalist Brad Tilley of Sleepy Hollow sits just one shot back following a 2-under 69, while Bayonne’s own Darin Goldstein and Colby Anderson of Nassau tallied 1-under 70s.
“It was probably the most solid round I’ve played all year. I drove it straight, made a lot of putts,” said Randolph, whose game is peaking at the right time following a recent win in the Nassau Invitational.
Randolph got just the start he was looking for, carding four birdies on his outward nine to turn in 32. He remained steady coming in, registering a single bogey on the 202-yard par-three 14th for a 3-under 68.
“It’s something I’ve been looking forward to all year,” said Randolph of the opportunity to win the Westmoreland Cup for a third consecutive year. However, showing the balance many mid-amateurs face, the chance to win a third consecutive title wasn’t always a given. “As of last night I didn’t even think I was going to be able to play,” he said. “Some things changed up at work, my schedule freed up and I was able to get out here.”
Heading into the final round, Randolph is aiming for a repeat performance—in terms of both his game on Tuesday and the result the past two years. “I’m not going to change anything,” he said. “You just have to be patient out here. You can’t hit drivers. I hit a lot of irons, I hit a lot of three-woods and I tried to figure out where I could putt uphill at the hole and for the most part that served me well.”
Barnett’s 68 was also fueled by a quick start. “I got off to a hot start, and birdied one and two,” said Barnett, saying he hit wedges close on both approaches. “I hit it down the middle and probably only missed two fairways and three greens,” he continued, speaking to his consistency on the day.
“I’ve been hitting it really well, but haven’t been scoring,” said Barnett. “Today, I just had it going—just had the putter going with six birdies. I felt really confident.” Barnett’s third birdie came on the par-five 4th, while he also tacked on three more on the inward nine to help grab a share of the lead.
While Tilley also posted back-to-back birdies to open, a trio of bogeys over the next five holes dropped him back to one-over. However, an eagle-three on the 565-yard 8th, immediately followed by two birdies quickly put him back on track. His play steadied out the remainder of the way, with six pars and a single bogey on the par-four 16th.
Following his opening 70, Goldstein is looking to sharpen his game off the tee and attack holes tomorrow in seeking the title. “The putter bailed me out a couple times and I played pretty steady on the back,” he said, after also describing a 75-foot birdie putt on the par-four 7th and a tap-in birdie on the par-four 10th after his approach shot lipped out from 140 yards. “Tomorrow is the same thing—you have to keep it in the short grass off the tee and fire at pins,” said Goldstein. “That’s about it, and we’ll see what happens.”
Jason Bataille of Neshanic Valley, Jonathan Jeter of Nassau Players, Michael O’Connell of Arcola and MGA eClub – New York City member Patrick Cooper all came in with rounds of even-par 71, while Devlin Walsh of Shawangunk, 2017 LIGA Mid-Am champion Hunter Semels of North Hempstead, and KJ Kim of Darlington rounded out the first round’s top-10 with 1-over 72s.
Bayonne played to a par of 71 at just under 6,900 yards. Competitors raved about the course’s immaculate conditioning from tee to green. Despite calm wind conditions throughout the day, the links layout which features a variety of elevation changes and massive dunes still proved to be a challenge for the Met Area’s top competitors aged 30 and over.
In all, 40 competitors made the cut at 5-over 76 or better. Wednesday’s final round begins at 8:30 a.m. with competitors going off both the 1st and 10th tees, while Randolph and Barnett tee off at 10 a.m. Live hole-by-hole scoring will be available for the majority of groups, while additional updates will be available on the MGA’s social media.