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Semis Set for Met Am

LOCUST VALLEY, N.Y. (August 1, 2014) - It was an exciting day of match play action at the 112th Met Amateur Championship at The Creek. While this morning’s round of 16 matches ended early with some large margins of victory, it was quite the opposite in the afternoon quarterfinal matches as three matches went to extra holes in order to determine the semifinalists.

Related: Match Play Bracket | Photos | Video Interviews | Round of 16 Recap

Reigning Ike champion David Pastore of MGA eClub-Westchester/Fairfield battled it out with stroke-play medalist Dylan Newman, forcing the match to 19 holes. Pastore won on the 19th hole, but it was a true fight throughout the day. Both players held slight leads throughout the match, with Newman holding the largest lead when he was 2 up after 10. Pastore, playing with a sore knee, made moves on the final holes of the match and it was all square until Pastore won the 17th hole. Newman won the 18th with a birdie, but Pastore fired right back with a birdie of his own on 19 to send him to the semifinal.

“I had a few opportunities [to win holes] but I didn’t hole too many putts, I finally made one on the 19th hole so that was nice,” the 22-year-old said. Pastore also noted the course’s challenges, stating that “it’s different golf, you have to think more than usual. It’s a great spot, a fun course for match play.” His goal tomorrow is to hit precise shots to advance through the semifinals.

Pastore and Newman both had advanced to the quarterfinal after winning this morning with large margins of victory; Pastore won 4 & 2 over Max Greyserman of Crestmont and Newman defeated Josh Goldenberg of Atlantic 4 & 3.

Pastore will be up against Sam Bernstein of Century in the semifinal. Bernstein also played 19 holes in the quarterfinal to defeat Ryan Snouffer of Panther Valley. Snouffer had a one-foot birdie putt to extend the match, but just couldn’t sink the putt. Like the match ahead of them, Bernstein and Snouffer really tested each other on the course today.

“It was a grind. I definitely had some bad holes but also some really good stretches in there,” the eventual winner said. “Ryan played well, he didn’t make a bogey until the 13th or 14th hole, but I hung in there, I stood tough,” Bernstein recalled. Snouffer was 3 up through 8, but Bernstein got the match back to all square on the back nine, eventually winning on that first extra hole.

Looking to tomorrow’s semifinal match, Bernstein is trying to stay calm and focused. “I’ve had some good results and bad [in match play],” he said, “I think the key is to expect the best out of your opponent.” Bernstein is familiar with playing strong opponents- last year at Stanwich he was defeated in the quarterfinals by the ultimate winner Pat Wilson. Bernstein advanced to the quarters today by defeating Tyler Cline of Tuxedo 4 & 3 in the round of 16.

Bernstein and Pastore have a few other things in common other than winning their matches in 19 holes today: the two recent college grads (Bernstein from Yale and Pastore from Virginia) had their younger brothers caddie for them today, but will be looking for replacements for tomorrow as the caddies have commitments of their own.

On the other side of the match play bracket, Matt Lowe of Colonial Springs defeated Harrison Shih of Alpine 5 & 4 in the only quarterfinal match that did not require extra holes. The 18-year-old made match play look easy today with his large margins of victory, he won his Round of 16 match 6 & 5 over Joe Blando of Harbor Links. Lowe was knocked out in the Round of 16 in last year’s Met Am (by Sam Bernstein), but this afternoon he had no trouble advancing.

Lowe was able to make a move on the back nine of his quarterfinal match, winning holes 9 through 11 to put him at 3 up over Shih, a semifinalist at the 2012 Met Am. Although Shih tried to fight back, the Columbia golf team member just couldn’t get an advantage over Lowe.

Lowe truly took the lead after making the turn, and kept up the momentum, winning on the 14th hole. About match play, Lowe said “I just have to play my own game, there’s no defense, and playing against my guy is not as efficient as if I just play the course.” Lowe, excited after his round, was already looking forward to his semifinal match, hoping to transfer some of his adrenaline to tomorrow.

Lowe will face two-time MGA Player of the Year (2010 & 08) Joe Saladino of Huntington, who won his quarterfinal match in 19 holes against Steven Zyschowski of Mendham. Saladino is no stranger to making it this far in the Met Am, in 2008 he played in the final against eventual winner Tommy McDonagh  at Friar’s Head.

Reflecting on his close match today, he said “every time I squared up the match, he [Zychowski] pulled ahead and I felt that I kept making some type of mistake that would keep me out of the lead for a little while.” There were no mistakes for Saladino on the first extra hole, however, as his approach shot left him a mere six inches from the pin to seal the deal and move onto the semifinals.

Saladino is the most experienced player of the group at 34, and his strong past performances in match play events should help him in tomorrow’s match. He defeated his round of 16 opponent, newly crowned Carter Cup champion Erick Alonso of Darlington, 4 and 3.

The Creek was once again an excellent challenge to the talented players today. The lightning fast greens tested the field’s putting this morning, and after rain showers passed through, the course softened up a bit, leading to some close finishes in the afternoon.

Saturday’s semifinal matches will begin at 12:00 pm, with the final match following on early Sunday morning. The MGA will be providing live scoring throughout the remaining matches on and our mobile app, My MGA.

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