Sam Bernstein Leads The 59th Ike Championship
WEST ORANGE, N.J. (June 23, 2014) – The opening round of the MGA’s 59th Ike Championship is complete and it is Sam Bernstein of Century in the lead after firing an opening round 4-under 66 at Montclair Golf Club in West Orange, N.J. A total of 46 players out of the starting field of 129 made the cut after the first-round at 5-over 75.
Bernstein, a Yale product and 2014 Co-Ivy League Player of the year, hadn’t played much golf in recent weeks and came out not knowing what to expect. “I was just hoping to make the cut today, so it’s nice to put up a good round,” Bernstein said.
It was a bogey-free round for the 22-year-old and one that featured a pair of 33s on Montclair’s third and fourth nines. “I didn’t make any bogeys, which was nice,” he said. “I hit a lot of greens, a lot of fairways, and had a lot of great looks for birdie.” While Bernstein is happy with how he played he knows tomorrow’s 36-hole stretch will be a test.
Just behind Bernstein in solo second is back-to-back NJSGA Amateur Champion and 2003 Met Amateur winner Mike Stamberger of Plainfield. Stamberger’s 3-under 67 puts him in prime position for tomorrow. He amassed six birdies today and like Bernstein, he knows how tough the 36-hole grind can be.
“I played consistently well and gave myself a lot of chances,” Stamberger said. “We’ll see, it’s a long day tomorrow. This is a tough golf course to walk.”
Three shots off the pace are Brian Komline of Black Oak and Jonathan Renza of Mohansic at 1-under 69 and tied for third. Komline, the 2010 MGA Public Links Champion, was very pleased with his round. In 2010 he won the NJSGA Amateur right here at Montclair, so he is very familiar with the course. “I kept the ball under the hole and I’m fully aware of what you need to do at this golf course,” Komline said, adding, “I have good vibes and I was able to execute my plan, which was just to avoid any big numbers.” The other 69 came from the Westchester Amateur Champion Renza, who struggled early on, going 3-over through his first three holes. “It was a rough start, but I just started putting the ball in position off the tee and a couple of putts dropped,” Renza said. Two birdies, an eagle, and a string of pars would be all Renza needed to fight his way back.
In the hunt at even par are Allan Small of Fairmount and Jacob Stockl of MGA eClub – N.J. Small, the 2009 MGA Senior Amateur Champion, made par on his first five holes and then made an eagle two on the par 4 15th hole (his 6th hole) from 89 yards out to get his round going. Stockl on the other hand, began his round with an eagle on the par 5 10th hole and scattered birdies and bogeys throughout the rest of the day. Small and Stockl stand four shots back of the lead.
Rounding out the top ten are four players that all fired 1-over 71s. Those players are as follows: Luke Edelman of Liberty National, Nick Patrick Dilio of Casperkill, Hyun Cheol Lee of Harbor Links, andTom Trakoval of Port Jefferson, who played with a set of rented clubs after forgetting his own at home this morning.
2013 MGA Player of the Year Max Buckley of Westchester had a tough day at Montclair, shooting a 6-over 76 after rounds of 41-35 and missed the cut by one stroke.
Montclair’s third and fourth nines were set up to play a par 70 at 6,506 yards. Tuesday’s starting times begin at 7:30 a.m. off of the first and tenth tees. The MGA will be providing 9 and 18-hole scoring in the morning wave, followed by live hole-by-hole scoring for the final 15 groups in the afternoon’s final round.