August 31, 2010

Tight Race at the Senior Open

-Billy Condon

After extending his lead to five strokes, Bobby Heins now has a one-shot lead over amateur John Ervasti of Sleepy Hollow. Ervasti sank a bunker shot for birdie on the par-4 11th hole to move to +1, and he is -1 on the day.

Heins, after making birdies at two of the first three holes, has recorded four bogeys on the fifth, seventh, ninth and tenth holes and is at even par for the championship. Heins is looking to become the first three-time winner of this championship and a five-time MGA champion.

It has become quite hot out here at Rolling Hills Country Club in Wilton, Conn., and you can be sure the winner will be the competitor with the coolest nerves.

Players and Conditions Heating Up at Senior Open

-Billy Condon

As the temperature passes 90 degrees, course conditions are getting more challenging. The greens are firming up and the breeze is challenging the field, but the top contenders are fighting back punch for punch - or in this case, putt for putt. Leader Bobby Heins is -2 thru three holes and stands at -4 for the championship. However, numerous other players are in red digits on this final day at Rolling Hills Country Club in Wilton, Conn. John Ervasti, Bruce Zabriski, Pete Busch and Mike Diffley are all 1-under for the day as well, and all besides Diffley are at +1 for the championship.

Battling right now for low amateur, although they are very much in the race for the title of MGA Senior Open champion are Ervasti and Ed Gibstein. Gibstein is even on the day and tied with Ervasti, Busch and Zabriski at +1.

Heins Aims for Three-Peat at MGA Senior Open

-Billy Condon

Two-time defending champion Bobby Heins of Old Oaks can become the first three-time winner of the MGA Senior Open as he enters the final round of the event at Rolling Hills Country Club in Wilton, Conn. Heins shot an opening round 68, and holds a two-shot lead over his nearest competitor, Ed Whitman of Knickerbocker. But Heins' quest for the three-peat is not the only headline going into today's finale. Here is what to watch for:

-In the 13 previous championships, an amateur has never won the MGA Senior Open. Ed Gibstein of Engineers has a good chance after posting a 71, and has played well in this event before as he finished as the low amateur at the 2009 Senior Open.

-Ed Whitman, currently in second place (70), is the 2004 champion and would join Heins, Darrell Kestner and Russell Helwig as two-time champions. Bill Britton, the 1979 Met Open champ, who shot a first-round 73, also looks to add a second Senior Open title to his resume.

-Stay tuned all day for updates from the 14th MGA Senior Open Championship and follow live scoring on

August 4, 2010

Pastore Wins 8th Carter Cup at Baltusrol

-Billy Condon

David Pastore of Greenwich, Conn., is the winner of the 8th Carter Cup. Pastore shot rounds of 70-70=140 to earn a three-stroke victory over Ryan McCormick of Middletown, N.J.

Can Anyone Catch Pastore?

-Billy Condon

With McCormick finished and in the clubhouse with a 1-under 143, David Pastore is still going strong and is -3 for the championship. The only player who can catch him is Mike Miller, who stands at even-par. And Miller has a chance as he is going into the par-5 17th and 18th holes. Stay tuned as the action plays out at Baltusrol.

Players Go Lower on the Lower

-Billy Condon

The Lower Course at Baltusrol, site of numerous U.S. Opens and the 2005 PGA Championship, has been the better-scoring course for the players at The Carter Cup. As the leaders are going low on the Lower (Peter Kim is 5-under thru 10 and numerous others are 3- and 2-under), the scores bring up an interesting discussion at Baltusrol. Why would the players go lower on a course that hosts major championships? Especially when it is their second 18 holes of the day, in hot and humid conditions, with no caddies? Here are a few explanations we came up with:

-The Lower Course has flatter greens than the Upper Course.
-The Upper Course requires much more intimate knowledge of the undulations on the greens and strategies for attacking the flag, something very hard to come by when playing the course for the first time or one time a year.
-Players gain a mental edge knowing they are playing a course where names like Nicklaus and Mickelson have won.

Miller Making Charge at Baltusrol

-Billy Condon

2010 Met Junior champ Mike Miller of Brewster, N.Y., is making a strong surge to catch the leaders as he is 3-under for his second 18 holes. Miller finished in fourth place at last year's Carter Cup and hopes to make one last push in his final year of eligibility in the event.

The Race is On at Baltusrol

-Billy Condon

David Pastore and Ryan McCormick have created a gap between themselves and the rest of the field as Pastore sits at 4-under and McCormick at 3-under. The next closest competitors are at even-par.

Pastore Leads Going into Afternoon 18

-Billy Condon

2009 Carter Cup runner-up David Pastore of Greenwich, Conn., is the first-round leader after firing a two-under-par 70 and is one-under thru one hole in his afternoon 18 on the Lower Course. Pastore, who also won the Met Junior on two occasions (2009 & 2006), is playing with 2010 Met Junior champ Mike Miller and perennial Carter Cup contender Sean Kelly of Staten Island, N.Y.

Ryan McCormick of Middletown, N.J., is right on Pastore's heels as he is three-under on his afternoon round and two-under for the championship.

Kim Makes an Ace on Third at Baltusrol

-Billy Condon

2008 MGA/MetLife Boys champion Peter Kim, who will be representing the MGA on the 2010 Williamson Cup team, made a hole-in-one on the 198-yard par-3 third hole. Kim has been a little sporadic early on, so the ace is sure to help. Through seven holes, he has recorded an ace, two birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey. The hole is playing as the 4th hardest in the early going.

They Are Who We Thought They Were

-Billy Condon

No, Dennis Green is not spotting balls on the course at Baltusrol, but the sentiment of his words are ringing true early on at The Carter Cup. The final group of the morning is almost a third of the way done with their first 18 holes, and the scores are displaying seasoned MGA and Carter Cup vets at the top.

Leading the way is 2010 Met Junior champ Mike Miller (-3), followed closely by 2009 Met Junior winner and last year's Carter Cup runner-up David Pastore (-2). Rounding out the top-four, you have 2010 Met Junior runner-up Schuyler Stitzer and Dylan Crowley, who finished 4th at the Ike at Metropolis.

Let's see if these guys can keep the early momentum going in the hot humid conditions.

8th Carter Cup at Baltusrol

-Billy Condon

Today is the 8th playing of The Carter Cup. An event on the MGA schedule that features some of the best young talent in Met Area golf. While the event distinguishes the top junior in the field, the tournament is played in, and celebrates the memory of Michael Carter. Here is a brief history on The Carter Cup from the MGA Media Guide:

The Carter Cup was founded in 2003 and named in honor of 20-year-old Michael J. Carter, an accomplished junior player at Baltusrol and standout member of the golf team at New Jersey’s Delbarton School. Carter died in a car accident in 2002, and Baltusrol approached the MGA about establishing an event in his memory. Carter had won junior club championships at both Baltusrol and Winged Foot Golf Clubs, and at the time of his death he was a member of the golf team at Penn State. The Carter Cup, which serves as the MGA Junior Stroke Play Championship, is a one-day, 36-hole invitational event held annually on the Upper and Lower Courses at Baltusrol. The only exception was 2005, when it was held at Winged Foot due to the playing of the PGA Championship at Baltusrol. The field is carefully selected by the MGA and includes the top junior players in the Met Area.