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59th Ike Championship Begins Monday at Montclair

ELMSFORD, N.Y. (June 18, 2014) -  The final field is set for the 59th Ike Championship at Montclair Golf Club, and 129 talented amateurs are ready to compete in the MGA’s first ‘Major’ of the 2014 season. Players ranging from the junior to senior level will compete on Montclair’s third and fourth nines in the 54-hole stroke play event on June 23 & 24.


Headlining the field are familiar names, including two MGA Players of the Year and Ike runner-up finishers Max Buckley of Westchester CC and Joe Saladino of Huntington CC. Buckley, the 2013 MGA Player of the Year, finished as the runner-up in the Ike the past two years to repeat winner and now professional Cameron Wilson at both Wykagyl and Atlantic.  The 24-year-old has been competing in a range of top-level national and international events over the last couple of years, most recently the Sunnehanna Amateur and the U.S. Open Sectional, where he missed advancing by just three shots. Saladino, the MGA Player of the Year in 2010 and ’08 and teammate of Buckley in the 2013 Carey Cup, is continually a force in the Ike. The recently crowned Long Island Amateur champion has finished as the runner up (with Max) in 2012, in 2011, and in ’06 as well.


Brothers Sam and Will Bernstein of Century are both in the field. Sam, the 2014 Ivy League co-Player of the Year and recent Yale graduate, finished tied for third last year at Wykagyl. His younger brother and Yale teammate Will was a quarterfinalist at the 2013 Met Junior and finished as the runner-up in 2012. Veteran player Mike Stamberger of Spring Lake, fresh off his second NJSGA Amateur win, and Westchester Amateur champ Jonathan Renza of Mohansic will be strong contenders in the field, as well as Arcola’s Trevor Randolph, the 2013 Met Am and MGA Mid-Am runner-up who has been building a strong local golf resume.

Two MGA Senior Am champions Jay Blumenfeld of Mountain Ridge and John Ervasti of Sleepy Hollow will bring their championship experience to Montclair. They will be joined by other MGA champions, including 2013 Public Links winner Jacob Henny of Oak Hills Park, and MGA Mid-Ams Michael Karger of Century (2013), Mark Henderson of Saint Andrew’s (2012) and Niall Handley of Essex Fells (2011).


Other top players looking for an Ike win include David Pastore, a recent graduate of the University of Virginia and a qualifier for the U.S. Amateur Public Links and  U.S. Open Sectional; Wake Forest’s Danny Guise of Griff Harris; junior phenom James Nicholas of Westchester, who has already won four IJGT (International Junior Golf Tour) events this year; and Harrison Shih of Alpine who helped Columbia’s golf team win the Ivy League Championship. Ken Bakst of Friar’s Head, the 1997 U.S. Mid-Am winner, and Al Small of Fairmount, the reigning NJSGA Senior Am, will also be in the field at Montclair.


The last time the Ike was played at Montclair, now 3-time PGA Tour winner Johnson Wagner set records when he shot a 54-hole score of 203 after a final round 65. In 2013, winner Cameron Wilson tied that record for the lowest winning total at Wykagyl. Back in 2002, Wagner then went on to win the Met Amateur and the Met Open, becoming the only player to win all three MGA ‘Majors’ in the same year.


Montclair’s third and fourth nines, designed by Donald Ross and Charles Banks, feature tight fairways and some of the most testing greens in the Met Area. Montclair, which traces its origins back to 1893, is a founding club of the MGA and has hosted the U.S. Men’s and Women’s Amateur, as well as the Ike, Met Open, Met Junior, and two MGA Senior Amateurs and Met Amateurs. The club was recognized as the 1995 Metropolitan Golf Writers Association’s Club of the Year. 


The MGA will be providing live scoring throughout the two-day championship, including 9 and 18-hole scores during the first and second rounds, and hole-by-hole scores for the final 15 groups on Tuesday’s final round.


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