Snouffer and McHugh Hold First-Round Lead at the Ike
RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (June 29, 2015) – The first round of the MGA’s 60th Ike Championship is in the books at Friar’s Head and Ryan Snouffer of Panther Valley and James McHugh of Rye GC stand atop a stellar leaderboard with 3-under 68s. Following a first-round cut, 44 competitors who shot 75 or better will advance to Tuesday’s final 36 holes of stroke play.
Snouffer and McHugh each credited their putting as the key to Monday’s success, as they were able to navigate Friar’s Head’s large, challenging greens.
“I putted really well,” said Snouffer, who carded a field-best seven birdies on the day. “I made a lot of good putts—a couple long ones which really helped me out.” Snouffer posted four bogeys in his afternoon round, but was able to overcome the miscues. “I had a couple of bad mistakes but I think the biggest thing was I was able to recover from them and that really helped me.”
Snouffer, who began his round on the 10th hole, birdied four of the five par-3s en route to the co-lead at the end of the day. He added birdies on the par-5 2nd and 11th holes in addition to the par-4 5th.
McHugh, the second-youngest player in the field at 16 years old, had six birdies on the day. After making the turn 1-under, McHugh added four birdies on the way in, including taking advantage of both par-5s on the inward nine.
“I hit a decent amount of greens, and then it was really my putter that was doing it for me,” McHugh commented. “I was rolling in all of the opportunities I had. I really putted great today.”
While McHugh may be a younger competitor, he feels comfortable in his position moving into Tuesday. “I’ve played in a lot of tournaments where I’m playing amateurs and a lot of older guys, so it’s not that foreign for me.”
Just one stroke back following opening round 69s are Jay Card of Gardiner’s Bay and MGA eClub—Westchester/Fairfield member CJ Swift, who both credited the driving of the ball for their strong opening rounds.
“I probably only missed a couple of fairways,” said Card. “The way I was striping it today was great. It helps when you’re that close to the greens and you really have a lot of control.” Card began his round on the 10th and made the turn in 2-over. However, he caught fire on the front nine, carding five birdies to just one bogey. After his one miscue on the par-4 5th, Card reeled off three-straight birdies on holes 6-8 en route to the 32 on his final nine.
“I didn’t really put myself in too many bad places off the tee,” reported Swift. “If you hit a lot of fairways, it gives you looks at the greens. There were definitely a couple pins you couldn’t really attack. I attacked the ones I could and was fortunate to make three birdies out there.”
Not far off the chase is a group of six competitors who fired first rounds of 1-under 70 to round out the top-10. Among the group are the youngest player in the field and Met PGA Junior Golf Club member Brent Ito, Cameron Young of Sleepy Hollow, Steven Zychowski of Mendham, Jared Mactas of Paramount, Luke Graboyes of Twin Brooks and Evan Grenus of Sterling Farms.
A large group of contendors shot even par 71s to find themselves near the top the leaderboard, including some of the strongest names in the field. Five-time Ike Champion George Zahringer of Deepdale, reigning Carter Cup winner Erick Alonso of White Beeches, Sam Bernstein of Century, Trevor Randolph of Arcola, Michael Savitt of Century, Stewart Hagestad of Golf & Body NYC, Thomas Collins of Spring Book, and Friar’s Head managing member Ken Bakst will look to win back some strokes during Tuesday’s second and third rounds.
The second and third rounds will be played on Tuesday, June 30. The first groups tee off beginning at 7:30 a.m., and the MGA will provide 9 and 18 hole scoring for the second round followed by hole-by-hole scoring for the majority of the final round in the afternoon. For complete coverage of the MGA’s Ike Championship, including photos, interviews, results and more, please visit www.mgagolf.org.