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Blake Wins 106th Met Junior Championship at Echo Lake

Barnes Blake wins 106th Met Junior at Echo Lake

WESTFIELD, N.J. (July 19, 2023) – Barnes Blake of Westfield, N.J., took home the 106th Metropolitan Junior Championship Sponsored by MetLife on his home course of Echo Lake Country Club on Wednesday afternoon.


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Blake topped Liam Pasternak of Morristown, N.J., 3 and 2 in the championship match. Blake, who was making his third consecutive appearance in match play in the championship, birdied the par-4 16th hole to secure his first MGA tournament title and an exemption into the 121st Met Amateur at Friar’s Head in August.


“It was awesome to play against Liam. He is one of my close friends,” said Blake. “He played well; just a couple of putts didn’t fall for him. It was a real joy to play against him.”


Blake added, “Playing against Liam, it felt like a match on a Saturday afternoon, not for a championship of this caliber.”  


Pasternak took an early 1-up lead after making birdie on the second hole. As the front nine ended, Blake erased the deficit and built a 2-up lead at the turn. The Westfield, N.J., native won the sixth to level the match and made an impressive sand save on the par-3 seventh before winning Nos. 8 and 9.


The par-5 12th went to Blake and extended his lead to three. Pasternak answered by winning the 13th with a birdie. The players tied the par-3 14th and the par-4 15th—both getting up and down for par—before Blake closed out the match on 16 with a birdie.


“Winning any MGA event, let alone the Met Junior is a huge honor. The names on the trophy speak for themselves, and I am very honored to be able to join them,” said Blake, who will be headed to Georgetown in the fall.


With the win, Blake became just the second player to finish as stroke play medalist or co-medalist and go on to win the championship, joining Christian Cavaliere from 2016. He also became the first player to win at their home club since Jake Mayer did so in 2017 at Plainfield Country Club.


Blake and Pasternak earned their spots in the championship match with convincing wins in the semifinals. Blake beat Thomas Finn from Locust Valley, N.Y., 4 and 3, and Pasternak topped Winston Blank of Rumson, N.J., 5 and 4.


Blake was one up after five holes and extended his lead to 3 up after eight. Blake pushed the lead to four as the match reached the par-3 14th. Blake and Finn tied the hole with bogeys. Blake then had Finn dormie. The pair parred the 15th to give Blake the win on his home course.


Pasternak jumped out to a 3-up lead through seven over Blank. Pasternak chipped in for birdie on the par-5 12th to win the hole and move to three up. Blank was short of the green in two, but Pasternak chipped in from the greenside rough after pulling his layup. Pasternak then closed out the match on the par-3 14th.


This was Echo Lake Country Club's first time hosting the Met Junior Championship. The primarily Donald Ross-designed layout was a perfect fit for the field and provided outstanding conditioning for the nation's oldest junior championship despite heavy rains early in the week. The course has undergone several changes in recent years under the direction of master plan architect Rees Jones.

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