WEST ORANGE, N.J. – Sam Bernstein didn’t play any golf over the past three weeks, but it certainly didn’t show on Monday.
The 22-year-old, a member of Century Country Club, was atop the leaderboard following the first round of the 59th annual Ike Metropolitan Golf Association Stroke Play Championship after shooting a 66 at the Montclair Golf Club, a par-70 course. Bernstein entered the tournament having not played golf all month until Saturday’s practice round.
“I haven’t practiced a lot, and you never know what’s going to happen,” said Bernstein, who spent the past three weeks traveling Europe with friends after graduating from Yale in May. “I guess the time off wasn’t such a bad thing.”
Due to his long absence from the golf course, Bernstein said he didn’t know what to expect in his fourth time playing in the Ike. The Manhattan resident ended up shooting a bogey-free round and posting two birdies on the front and two more on the back.
“It’s always great being bogey-free,” said Bernstein, who finished third last year in the tournament. “I’ve only done it a few times in my life in a tournament. It’s nice not having to overcome a bogey on the next tee and battling through that. It just makes it a little bit easier on yourself mentally.”
Jonathan Renza, a Cortlandt Manor native and Mohansic Golf Club member who completed his degree in finance this May at Rutgers, shot a 69, putting him in a tie for third place. Renza had an up-and-down round, posting a birdie and eagle on the front nine followed by a bogey and double bogey on the back, in addition to a birdie on 15.
Rye resident Max Buckley, the runner-up the past two years, shot a 76, finishing tied for 47th and falling just short of the cut, which was 75. The Westchester Country Club member had four bogeys and a double bogey before the turn.
“I just played terribly on the front nine,” Buckley said. “I couldn’t do anything right, it seemed like. Every spot you could possibly miss. … The one spot out on the course that was just like, don’t hit it there, I hit it there. From there I just compounded my errors and made it a lot harder than it actually was.”
The 24-year-old said his yardage was off all day, overshooting several pins on the front nine.
And while Buckley said he’s disappointed with his performance in what will be his last Ike, he can see the bigger picture.
“It’s only one tournament,” Buckley said. “In the grand scheme of things it’s not that big of a deal. I’ll move on. I’ve got plenty of more tournaments to play in.”
(Sam Bernstein/lohud file photo)
59th Ike MGA Stroke Play Championship
At Montclair Golf Club, par 70
1. Sam Bernstein (Century CC) 66; 2. Mike Stamberger (Spring Lake GC) 67; T3. Brian Komline (Black Oak GC), Jonathan Renza (Mohansic GC) 69; T5. Allan Small (Fairmount CC), Jacob Stockl (MGA eClub-N.J.) 70; T7. Luke Edelman (Liberty National GC), Nick Patrick Dilio (Casperkill GC), Hyun Cheol Lee (Harbor Links GC), Tom Trakoval (Port Jefferson CC) 71; T11. Peter Van Ingen (Deepdale GC), Jay Blumenfeld (Mount Ridge CC), Sean Gaudette (MGE eClub-West/Fairfield), James Nicholas (Winged Foot GC), Ethan Wall (Manasquan River GC), Thomas La Morte (White Beeches CC), Bryan Pendrick (Mill River CC), David Pastore (MGA eClub-West/Fairfield) 72; T19. Brian Kilduff (Plainfield CC), Alan Specht (Wheatley CC), Blake Schulman (Old Oaks CC), Daniel Gabel (Dutchess GC), Brandon Dalinka (MGA eClub-N.J.), Matthew Lowe (Colonial Springs), Trevor Randolph (Arcola CC), John Yu (Bethpage State Park GC) 73; T27. Edward Gibstein (Engineers CC), Danny Guise (Griff Harris Mens GC), John Jackopsic (MGA eClub-West/Fairfield), Ryan Garrity (MGA eClub-West/Fairfield), Aaron Simone (MGA eClub-Hudson Valley), Lloyd Jefferson Go (Fiddler’s Elbow CC), Anthony Campanile (Deal CC) 74; T34. Conor Casey (Somerset Hills CC), Mike Shine (Minisceongo GC), Steven Zychowski (Mendham GC), Niall Handley (Essex Fells CC), Cory Wilson (Panther Valley CC), Mark Reilly (Peninsula Valley CC), Bear Carlson (Bedford GC), Andrew Shortall (MGA eClub-Hudson Valley), Max Greyserman (Crestmont CC), Bradley Lankler (Fiddler’s Elbow CC), David Weisfeld (Hudson National GC), Ryan Rose (The Ridgewood CC), Jake Card (Gardiners Bay CC) 75.
For complete results and live scoring on Tuesday from Montclair, click here.