Bernstein Leads Ike at Meadow Brook
JERICHO, N.Y. (June 25, 2018) – Just five players carded sub-par scores Monday in the opening round of the 63rd Ike MGA Stroke Play Championship Presented by Callaway, with Sam Bernstein of Century leading the field behind a 3-under-par 68 at Meadow Brook Club.
Reigning Met Amateur champion Matt Mattare of Darlington and Chris Gotterup of Rumson added rounds of 2-under-par 69 while Colin Dolph of North Hempstead and Ethan Ng of Knickerbocker rounded out those in red figures with 1-under-par 70s.
Bernstein offset an early bogey on the par-four 3rd with a tap-in birdie on the fifth, having nearly holed his chip on the drivable par-four. After five consecutive pars, Bernstein scored another tap-in birdie, then holed a pitching wedge from 147 yards on the par-four 12th. Bernstein, 26, closed with six consecutive pars for his 68, leaning on his flat stick down the stretch.
“My putting usually propels me and I made a few nice par putts coming in,” said Bernstein. Solid approach shots also proved key for Bernstein, who hit 17 of 18 greens in regulation, then used a defensive mindset on Meadow Brook’s quick greens.
Heading into Tuesday and the final 36 holes, the Yale graduate is set on enjoying his position and aims to use his experience to his advantage. “I have no expectations,” said Bernstein, a three-time Arcola Cup winner who has had limited competitive rounds this year. “My goal with the Ike is always to make the cut and to see what happens after that.”
Meanwhile, Mattare rolled in six birdies—matching the field high on the day—to help offset five bogeys, once again identifying performance on the greens as an important piece of his round. “The greens are super fast and they’re super true,” said Mattare. “Right around the holes, there isn’t a whole lot of movement, so if you can get the ball rolling, you’re going to make a lot of putts. On the back nine I made a couple bombs that kind of got me right to where I am.”
Similar to Bernstein, Mattare hasn’t been able to fit in as many rounds as he’d like early in the season, but is pleased with where his game stands. “I’m certainly thrilled with how today went and hopefully it’s a springboard for tomorrow,” he said.
For the long-hitting Gotterup, finding the fairway was the key to his scoring. “If I’m hitting fairways, I’m usually playing pretty well,” said the rising sophomore at Rutgers. “I didn’t get myself in too many bad situations, so I was able to make a bunch of pars and a couple birdies. I did everything I wanted to do today and probably a little bit more. I missed a bunch of putts, so if I make a few more putts tomorrow, I should be in business.”
Following a strong first year of collegiate competition, Gotterup is armed with a boosted poise for the summer. “It gave me some self-confidence that I could play with those type of guys,” said Gotterup of his season of Big 10 golf.
Dolph tallied four birdies in his morning round en route to his 70, while Ng rolled in five on the way to his 70 in the afternoon—the only player in the wave to do so. “I was just making sure I had the speed right,” said Ng, a two-time Carter Cup champion who echoed the importance of performing well on the greens. “The line wasn’t a big concern, but getting the speed down and getting those long puts in tap-in range was key.”
Ryan Davis of New Jersey National, Justin Lane of Woodstock, Zach Grossman of South Fork and MGA eClub – Hudson Valley member Cody Cox all finished at even-par 71 to stand in the middle of contention heading into Tuesday. Grossman matched Mattare with six birdies in the round.
Brad Tilley of Sleepy Hollow—who claimed the Ike in 2003 at Meadow Brook—Jay Card of Gardiner’s Bay, and Sam Goldenring of Brooklake rounded out those in the top 10 following day one, posting 1-over 72s.
Players raved about Meadow Brook’s layout and conditioning. The club finalized a Brian Silva renovation in early 2017, with updates including new tees, rebuilt bunkers and softened doglegs. The club is one of 16 Met Area clubs to have hosted all three of the MGA’s majors—the Ike, Amateur, and Open—last hosting the Open in 2007.
After Monday’s 18 holes of play, a cut was made to the low 40 scores and ties, with 49 players advancing to Tuesday’s 36 holes with scores of 5-over 76 or better. Tuesday’s starting times begin at 7:30 a.m. The second round will feature 9- and 18-hole scores, while the final round in the afternoon will include live scoring for the majority of groups.