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Barnes, Dilio lead halfway through 69th MGA Public Links Championship

SUFFERN, N.Y. (July 7, 2016)Nick Dilio of Casperkill and Gray Barnes of Centennial opened the 69th MGA Public Links Championship at Spook Rock Golf Course with morning rounds of 3-under 69, earning a two-shot lead over a group of four competitors.

Kyle Brey of Bethpage, the 2015 Public Links runner up, leads the group at 1-under, which also includes Germay Medina of Pelham Bay/Split Rock, Michael Marotta of South Shore and Jim Hamburger of McCann.

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“I hit the ball pretty well off the tee and gave myself a lot of opportunities on the greens,” remarked Dilio, who birdied Nos. 9-11 en route to his opening round 69. “On nine, I hit it to a foot, so it was a tap-in. On 10, I actually hit it way left off the tee and hit a nice recovery shot and made a really nice long putt,” continued the recent Saint Peters graduate who is returning to his alma mater to coach. “On the par-5 I was greenside in two and almost holed out the bunker shot for eagle—I lipped out so that was another tap in.”

Barnes made the turn in 3-under 33 on the front side, carding four birdies to a lone bogey. He reached 4-under following a birdie on the par-5 11th, but a bogey on the 14th and four straight pars to close his round completed his score of 69. Barnes medaled in the championship’s qualifier at Rockleigh GC in Rockleigh, N.J.

Brey owned the cleanest card in the morning round, tallying 17 pars along with a birdie on the 11th for a 1-under 71. Marotta had four birdies to three bogeys in his round, while Medina and Hamburger notched three birdies to two bogeys apiece.

Four more players are close behind following rounds of even-par 72: Matt Pollock of Crab Meadow, Mark Reilly of Peninsula, Michael Auerbach of Nassau Players and eClub New Jersey member Thomas Lee.

Players are already on the course for the second round, with additional live scoring being available.

The MGA Public Links Championship is contested over 36 holes and is open to male amateur golfers who reside in the MGA territory and do not have playing privileges at a course at which the general public is excluded. Competitors must have a Handicap Index of 8.0 or below. Five sectional qualifying rounds were held throughout the Met Area to determine the final field.

Spook Rock Golf Course, who is hosting the championship for a record tying eighth time, played at 6762 yards in round one for the field of 62 competitors.

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