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Foley Wins Ike by One Stroke

WEST CALDWELL, N.J. (June 24, 2008) – He’s come very close in recent years, and now Kevin Foley of Neshanic Valley has an MGA championship to his credit. The 21-year-old won the 53rd Ike Championship presented by Canon USA in dramatic fashion, finishing one stroke ahead of 18-year-old Morgan Hoffmann of Arcola in what became a two-man battle at Mountain Ridge Country Club.

   Foley shot rounds of 65-72-70 for a 6-under-par 207 total, the fourth-best winning score in Ike Championship history. It is Foley’s first MGA championship victory after several near-misses, including a t-3rd at last year’s Ike Championship and a runner-up finish at the 2006 Met Amateur. After being named Big Ten Freshman of the year as a member of the Penn State golf team in 2007, Foley was an All-America Honorable Mention this year and finished t-23rd at the NCAA Division I Championship in May.


   “The course definitely played tougher today,” remarked Foley. “When Morgan went up by one shot [after the second round] I just tried to stay focused and keep battling. It feels great to win this. It’s definitely one of the most prestigious events for amateurs, and I’ve had some close calls in the past so this is definitely a little bit of redemption for those.”


   Only one player shot two rounds in the 60s today, and that was Brian Komline of High Bridge Hills, who finished in third place at 2-under 211. Coming in fourth place at 1-under 212 was Andrew Giuliani of Van Cortlandt Park, who shot a third-round 70. Duke University golf team captain and 2008 U.S. Open competitor Michael Quagliano of GlenArbor placed fifth at 1-over 214.


  Foley and Hoffmann, who will be a freshman at Oklahoma State University this fall, were paired for all 36 holes today and separated themselves from the pack in windy conditions that made the 7,006-yard layout play much more difficult than yesterday. They began the day with Foley ahead by two strokes after his first-round 65. Hoffmann then pulled ahead in the second round, shooting 69 to Foley’s 72 to go ahead by one stroke after 36 holes. The afternoon final round was a back and forth battle, with both players exchanging the lead and being tied for long stretches in an almost-match play situation.


   The round turned on the par-three 14th, where Foley hit a soaring 7-iron to 10 feet and sunk the birdie putt to go one stroke ahead. Hoffmann then bogeyed the 410-yard, par-four 15th hole to give Foley a two-stroke lead with three holes to go. On the par-five 17th hole, Foley was 255 yards out and decided to go for it, and hit his fairway wood into a greenside bunker. “I left the door open for him there,” said Foley afterward. “I probably should have laid up there. Foley missed a two-foot par putt there, and Hoffmann managed a par to enter the final hole down by one stroke, and both players two-putted for par. 


   “I came into the final round with a one-shot lead, and the goal was to try and expand it. I obviously didn’t do that, and I’m disappointed,” said Hoffmann afterward.


   Though the day began with bright sunshine, play was suspended for one hour this afternoon as a severe thunderstorm passed overhead. The brief downpour was then replaced with bright skies and swirling winds, confounding the players’ club selections and allowing the greens to drain quickly.


   The Huntington Country Club team of Joe Saladino and David Boccia won the Ike team championship. Coming in second in the team competition was the home course team, Jay Blumenfeld and David Weiniger of Mountain Ridge.

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