By Josh Thomson
PURCHASE — Patrick Pierson looked at the match-play tree for a moment, but he didn’t need longer than that. What he noticed, actually, was what he didn’t notice.
“I’m looking at the names here and I don’t really know any of them,” said Pierson, the Minisceongo Golf Club member. “I feel like I’ve got a good shot.”
The 94th Westchester Golf Association Amateur began Monday with the feeling that it was anyone’s championship to win. Perhaps the three potential favorites were missing from the field in defending champ Mike Miller, 2011 winner Cameron Young and 2008 winner Max Buckley.
Scheduling caused all three local amateur stars to miss the event. Miller and Buckley played at nearby Old Oaks and Century in Monday’s 36-hole U.S. Open sectional qualifier. Young, a sophomore at Fordham Prep, missed the event because of final exams.
“They’re the best players in the section,” Pierson said. “If you eliminate them, it moves you closer to the top. Once Max pulled out, I felt it was my tournament to lose.”
Pierson, the 2004 runner-up, was among eight men (and boys) of varied backgrounds left standing in the men’s division after two matches Monday. Top seed Colin McDade — a Rye Country Day graduate who plays at Richmond — and second-seeded Jack Bender — a Sleepy Hollow High School senior — are the only two top-five seeds remaining.
Sixth-seeded John Moore, a 46-year old from Pelham Country Club, needed just 13 holes to win his morning match and was nearly as convincing in his 5-and-4 defeat of 2010 champ Jonathan Renza in the afternoon.
The youngest remaining player in the field is 14-year-old James McHugh, a freshman at Rye High School. He won both matches 1-up, including winning the last two holes of his morning match to rally from a hole down.
“Those guys are amazing. Not having them in it definitely makes the field not as strong because they’re so good,” McHugh said. “Without having to play one of them to get into the finals is definitely a huge relief — not that other guys out here can’t play as well as them.”
Like Wykagyl’s Frank Ciulla, who delivered the highlight of the day when he aced No. 5 during his 3-and-2 win in the super senior division. The 66-year-old told tournament officials it was the first hole-in-one of his life.
Of course, unpredictability abounded throughout all three divisions. The only defending champ who lasted into Tuesday was Winged Foot’s Jim Graham in the senior division. In the super senior bracket, Scarsdale Golf Club’s Hugh Shevlin finished a 6-and-5 upset of Wykagyl’s Peter Friedes, who won four of the last five super senior titles.
Play in all three divisions continues at Brae Burn on Tuesday. The men’s division will hold quarterfinals and semifinals and produce the final pairing for Wednesday’s 36-hole final.
The senior and super senior divisions will hold semifinals Tuesday followed by 18-hole matches on Wednesday.
94th WGA Amateur
At Brae Burn Country Club, Par 72
(All divisions are match play)
Colin McDade (Winged Foot) d. Jason Denker (Sterling Farms) 4 and 2; Al
Tenembaum (Rockland) d. Jason Monroe (Fenway) 3 and 2; Kamaiu Johnson (Sterling
Farms) d. Pieter Hartong (Stanwich) 3 and 2; Alex Bermingham (Apawamis) d.
Gustavo Velasquez (Dunwoodie) 5 and 4; Shane Kennedy (Blue Hill) d. Ian Palfrey
(Siwanoy) 4 and 2; James McHugh (Rye) d. Paul Servidio (Westchester Hills) 1-up;
Michael DiGuglielmo (Salem) d. Ryan Hudson (Westchester Hills) 1-up; Andre
Bolukbas (Mansion Ridge) d. Rory Mazur (Ridgefield) 3 and 2; Jack Bender
(Ardsley) d. Joe Raitano (Mohansic) 2-up; Garrett Weir (Ardsley) d. Bear Carlson
(Bedford) 2-up; Doug Saidenberg (Metropolis) d. Alexander Koudijs (Knollwood) 3
and 1; Patrick Pierson (Minisceongo) d. Jonas Borra (Pelham Bay) 4 and 3; Jake
Trotta (Wykagyl) d. Zachary Plutzik (Quaker Ridge) 2 and 1; Paul Chianese
(Leewood) d. Michael Leder (Rye) 1-up; John Moore (Pelham) d. Bruce Franklin
(Centennial) 7 and 5; Jonathan Renza (Hollow Brook) d. Tyler Stagg (Westchester
Hills) 2 and 1.
Round of 16
McDade d. Tenembaum 5 and 4; Johnson d. Bermingham 2-up; McHugh d. Kennedy 1-up;
Bolukbas d. DiGuglielmo 3 and 2; Bender d. Weir 3 and 2; Pierson d. Saidenberg 3
and 1; Chianese d. Trotta 5 and 4; Moore d. Renza 5 and 4.
Jon Groveman (Connecticut) d. James Tharp (Rockland Valley) 2 and 1; Jim Graham
(Winged Foot) d. George Riehm (Sprain Valley) 1-up; Billy Hackett (Siwanoy) d.
Charles Levy (Sunningdale) 4 and 3; Chris Taylor (Centennial) d. John Baer
(Century) 2 and 1; Peter Rymer (Miniscenongo) d. Tom Chiusano (Pelham) 1-up;
Andrew Goodenough (Westchester) d. Rich Dermer (Sterling Farms) 2 and 1; Steve
Joyce (Westchester) d. Drew Greenland (Rockrimmon) 5 and 4; Rick Blank (Elmwood)
d. Joe Sommers (Winged Foot) 3 and 2.
Graham d. Groveman 2 and 1; Hackett d. Taylor 4 and 3; Rymer d. Goodenough 3 and
2; Joyce d. Blank 3 and 2.
Super senior division
Hugh Shevlin (Scarsdale) d. Peter Friedes (Wykagyl) 6 and 5; d. Ronald Bayer
(Powelton) d. Gary Cymrot (Spook Rock) 3 and 1; Frank Ciulla (Wykagyl) d. Bill
Sherry (Dutchess) 3 and 2; Lukas Konandreas (Sterling Farms) d. John Zygmunt
(Siwanoy) 3 and 2.