Finals Set for 99th Westchester Amateur, Sr. & Super Sr. Amateurs
FAIRFIELD, Conn. (June 6, 2018) – Christian Cavaliere of Mahopac and Gray Barnes of Centennial both tallied a pair of 5-and-4 victories on day two of the 99th Westchester Amateur Championship at Brooklawn Country Club, setting up Thursday’s 36-hole final.
Two more championship matches are also set, as Frank Geiger of Sterling Farms and Tom Yellin of Stanwich will square off for the Senior title, while Rick Blank of Metropolis and John Hamilton of Hudson National will battle for the Super Senior crown.
Looking to defend his title in the championship, Cavaliere won the first three holes of his morning round and never looked back en route to the 5-and-4 win over Jon Renza of Garrison. He once again gathered a quick advantage in the afternoon against Craig Leonard of Wykagyl, taking a 4-up advantage after five while playing par golf. Leonard advanced to the afternoon semis after outlasting Bear Carlson of Bedford in 19 holes.
Leonard rolled in a birdie-two on the short 10th to trim the deficit to three, but Cavaliere answered by scoring back-to-back birdies and took a five-hole lead with a par-four on the uphill 13th. Pars on the following hole closed out the match, giving Cavaliere the opportunity to become the first back-to-back winner in the Westchester Amateur since Greg Rohlf won three consecutive from 1997-99.
“Off the tee I was not great, but my irons were really solid, my wedges were solid,” said Cavaliere. “So, I put myself in good spots and kind of just played consistent, let the other guys make some mistakes and was able to come away with two wins which was nice.”
Cavaliere has played consistently over the two days, sticking to his plan of attack on the classic A.W. Tillinghast design that has hosted four USGA championships including the 1987 U.S. Senior Open won by Gary Player.
“Off the tee it’s a little tight on a few holes, so I clubbed down a little bit today,” said Cavaliere. “You kind of just have to hit spots on the greens. There’s a lot of bowls, but there’s also a bunch of false fronts. You can get into some tough spots. So, it’s all about positioning yourself.”
After a 5-and-4 win over Brian Flanagan of Rye in the morning, Barnes kept it rolling in the afternoon, using five birdies to defeat Daniel Gabel of McCann by the same score in the semifinal match. Three birdies in a four-hole stretch led Barnes to a 3-up advantage through eight holes. He then added back-to-back birdies on Nos. 12 and 13, while a half with pars closed out the match on the 14th. Gabel played a fine round himself, standing just 1-over par when the match ended.
“I wasn’t missing too many shots and when I was, I was able to recover,” said Barnes. “The greens are really, really tough, but I was hitting some good shots and didn’t leave myself with any shots that were too difficult.”
The 36-hole championship match begins at 8:00 a.m., Thursday at Brooklawn and will include live hole-by-hole scoring.
In the Senior bracket, Geiger faced a two-hole deficit to Jim Hamburger of McCann through four holes, but two birdies over the next five allowed him to quickly take a 2-up lead of his own at the turn. Though his advantage dropped to one with a bogey-six on the 11th, Geiger played No.s 12-17 in even-par to claim the 2-and-1 victory. Yellin and Tom Evans of Siwanoy battled back and forth in their semifinal match, halving just seven holes in the match, which went all the way to 18. Yellin, who claimed the Westchester Amateur in 1991, stood one down through 12 but three birdies over the next five holes earned him a 1-up lead heading into the last. Both players carded par on the finisher, allowing Yellin the opportunity to claim another Westchester title.
The Senior final is scheduled to begin at 12:15 p.m. on Thursday and will include live hole-by-hole scoring.
In the Super Senior bracket, Blank will make his second-straight appearance in the final after avenging last year’s title-match defeat to Russ Sirico of Lake Isle by a 5-and-3 margin on Wednesday. Blank closed out the match in style, carding a birdie on the par-three 15th. Meanwhile, Hamilton came out on top after a back-and-forth match. After taking an early 2-up lead on Rick Lawrence of Ridgewood, Hamilton faced his own two-hole deficit as late as the ninth hole. But, back-to-back birdies on Nos. 10-11 quickly evened the match. Lawrence then closed strong, winning 15-17 to earn his way to the final.
The Super Senior final will begin at noon on Thursday and will include live hole-by-hole scoring.