Bernstein, Costanza, Li, honored at 126th MGA Annual Meeting & Dinner
ELMSFORD, N.Y. (December 7, 2023) – The Metropolitan Golf Association celebrated the 2023 season on Wednesday evening, holding its 126th Annual Meeting and Dinner at Westchester Country Club in Rye, N.Y. Former MGA President Gene Bernstein, Mark Costanza, and Katie Li were all honored with year-end awards during the closing dinner portion of the evening, while officer re-elections and a conversation with NBC Sports’ Dan Hicks highlighted the meeting portion.
Bernstein is a longtime volunteer with the MGA, first joining the Board of Directors in 2002 before rising through the officer ranks to be elected president and chair of the MGA Foundation from 2011-12. He’s remained an active Board member with the MGA Foundation and has helped guide the MGA’s initiatives and services through his various leadership roles. In addition to his roles with the MGA, Bernstein currently is the Chair of First Tee – Metropolitan New York, a role he’s held since 2021. Golf in the Met Area has benefited from Bernstein’s contributions for more than three decades.
First-ever MGA Women’s Player of the Year Li – a Basking Ridge, N.J., native who is wrapping up her first semester at Duke University – was not able to attend; however, her mother and father, Tong Wu and Sean Li were in attendance and accepted the award on her behalf. Li, who plays out of Fiddler’s Elbow, produced a strong season, using top finishes in national events to earn the inaugural award. Aside from high finishes in the Dixie Amateur and Annika Invitational (AJGA), Li advanced to match play in the North & South Women’s Amateur, U.S. Girls’ Junior, and U.S. Women’s Amateur.
Costanza accepted the MGA Jerry Courville Senior Player of the Year Award, becoming just the fourth player in MGA history to have won the award three times. The Baltusrol and Hamilton Farm member compiled an outstanding record over a nine-week span – beginning with medalist honors at the 121st Met Amateur Championship and ending with a win at the 17th MGA Mid-Amateur Championship – to capture the award.
Club representatives, committee members, champions, volunteers, and representatives from local and national golf organizations were in attendance for the evening.
During the opening meeting, department reports detailed another successful year for the MGA both on and off the golf course. Patrick Donnelly of Garden City Country Club was re-elected to a second one-year term as President of the MGA and will continue to serve alongside Vice President Ned Zachar of GlenArbor and Secretary Gregg Angelillo of Baltusrol. Bryan Pendrick of Meadow Brook was welcomed as an officer, being elected Treasurer for the MGA Board of Directors.
The MGA Foundation Board of Directors welcomed several new members: Brendan Jonland of Arcola, Arjun Murti of Canoe Brook, and Lourdes Perez-Berkeley of Winged Foot.
The MGA also welcomed Eric Swedenburg as its new general counsel. He steps into the role in place of Mario Ponce, who is retiring and had worked with the MGA for the past 15 years.
Though busy with the end of the semester at Georgetown University and not able to attend, Barnes Blake of Westfield, N.J., was recognized as the recipient of the 2023 MGA Junior Player of the Year Award, Presented by Callaway. His parents, Amy and Dexter, accepted the award on his behalf.
MGA volunteer Scott Stearns, who passed away suddenly in April, was remember and honored as this year’s recipient of the Jerry Mahoney Award. The award annually recognizes a volunteer’s spirit of generosity and good will. Stearns personified the award, serving as a great friend, mentor, and volunteer for the MGA since 2002.
The MGA also honored its latest class of inductees to the MGA Hall of Merit, part of the MGA Honors Presented by Stifel. This year's class featured the founding women of Morris County Golf Club and professional "Long" Jim Barnes.
Attendees also heard from NBC Sports’ lead golf broadcaster Dan Hicks, who joined MGA Director of Communications Helen Farrelly for a Q&A. Hicks shared insights gathered from his unique view of professional golf, expressed his gratitude for living in the Met Area and enjoying the region’s golf, and provided some thoughts on the season ahead.