Five Shoot Under-Par to Open 21st Callaway MGA Senior Open
MONROE TOWNSHIP, N.J. (August 28, 2017) – Five competitors fired sub-par scores in Monday’s opening round of the 21st Callaway MGA Senior Open Championship at Forsgate Country Club, with amateur Todd Wood of Fairmount leading the way at 5-under 66.
Forsgate teaching professional Frank Esposito lies just one shot back following a 4-under 67 on the Banks Course, while Mark McCormick of Suburban and Mark Yannotta of Anchor Golf Center are tied third at 2-under 69. John Deforest Sr., of Rondout finished off those in red figures with a 1-under 70.
Wood got off to a blistering start, making threes on each of the first five holes and carding four birdies in the process. After adding a birdie on the par-five 8th, Wood turned in 5-under and added a birdie and a bogey on his inward nine for the field-leading 66.
“I putted well and made two really long putts in my first five holes,” said Wood about his great start. While he cooled down the rest of the way, the putter still kept things going through the back nine as he made several five-to-eight footers to save par. Wood’s day was strong all around, as he hit 15 greens and missed just a pair of fairways.
Now Wood is looking forward to the challenge heading into Tuesday’s final round. “I think the biggest thing will be to enjoy the challenge,” said Wood, who tied 11th in the season-opening MGA Senior Amateur at his home club. “There are so many ridiculously good players in the field and on the leader board, so I just want to embrace the opportunity and play well,” closed Wood.
Meanwhile, Esposito had a slow start with three bogeys over the first five holes. But, a change he’s bounced between on the greens proved to turn his momentum. “I hit it solid, but I just haven’t been making any putts, and then I switched over to cross-handed,” said Esposito, who made the cut at last week’s 102nd Met Open held at Hollywood Golf Club in Deal, N.J. “I seem to make more cross-handed, so I’m daring to go to it full time but I seem to go back and forth.”
For Esposito, he’s leaning on a mixture of local knowledge and his steady run of impressive play this summer heading into the final round. “I think I first started playing here in the 70s,” he said. “So, I kind of grew up playing here.” As for tomorrow, Esposito said he’d “try to hit some fairways, keep it on the right sides of the humps and bumps and try to make some putts.”
Like Esposito, McCormick carried momentum to Forsgate after making the cut at the Met Open—where he finished tied for 10th. While McCormick had a bogey on the par-three 3rd, he kept a clean card the remainder of the way and also added birdies at Nos. 7, 15 and 17.
Yanotta also had just one miscue on his card, bogeying the par-four 4th and carding birdies on Nos. 3, 6 and 14. DeForest logged four birdies, but a double-bogey and a bogey led to his 1-under 70.
Amateur John O’Malley of Forsgate and Brent Studer of Metedeconk carded even-par 71s, while David Young of Sleepy Hollow, Greg Baker of Rockaway River and amateur Frank Abbott of Oak Hill round out the first round’s top-10 with 1-over 72s.
In all, 48 competitors made the cut at 77 or better. Tuesday’s final round will begin at 8:00 a.m., with the final group of Wood and Esposito going off at 11:05 a.m. Scoring will feature 9 and 18 hole updates for the majority of the field with live hole-by-hole scoring available for several of the final groups.