By Mike Dougherty
WHITE PLAINS – A parade of mumbling players trudged up the stairs and onto the patio at Metropolis Country Club believing they were on the wrong side of the cut line.
The scoreboard, though, provided a welcome epiphany.
A stiff breeze and tricky greens made every birdie during the first round of the Westchester Golf Association’s Open Championship a noteworthy accomplishment. Tim Hegarty, a mini-tour player with roots in Briarcliff, was the exception. He opened with a 3-under 67 on Monday, and is holding a two-shot lead over three players.
It was the kind of day where one bad swing could ruin a good round, and only six players were at or below par.
“The wind, I don’t know what it was blowing, 15 or 20 miles an hour at times maybe,” said Hegarty, 31, who is coming back after having wrist surgery over the winter. “On my first nine, I got up and down a bunch. On my back nine, I hit the ball great. I only had one bogey, and I made that one from the middle of the fairway 100 yards out.”
Siwanoy head pro Grant Turner, Willow Ridge assistant Kent St. Charles and Griff Harris amateur David Pastore are tied for second at 1-under.
The cut was an eye-popping 76, and 45 players survived to play 36 holes on Tuesday.
Metropolis is in the midst of a renovation/restoration project that has reintroduced some of courses original features. A number of trees have been removed. The existing bunkers are getting attention, and several new tees have been added for the members.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Apawamis head pro James Ondo, who shot a 2-over 72 and is tied for seventh. “It was in great shape, really firm and fast. This is one of those courses that rewards good shots. If you hit the ball a touch off line, you can end up in the rough or in the fescue and have no chance.”
Chris Scialo was pretty happy at even par following a double-par-double start. The New City native settled down and began to make timely putts. Scialo went eagle-birdie-birdie after the turn to climb back up the leaderboard and is tied for fifth with a 70.
“I was ready to go home,” he said. “The course is playing so tough, and it’s a tricky little track. The rough is thick, and there are some pins close to ridges, so it’s going to be tough shooting low numbers.”
Hegarty isn’t overthinking the final rounds.
“More good golf needs to happen,” he said. “This place is awesome. If you drive the ball well here, you’ll have short clubs in your hand and give yourself a chance to make birdies. That’s my goal.”
92nd WGA Open Championship
At Metropolis Country Club – Par 70
1. Timothy Hegarty, Sleepy Hollow CC, 34-33-67
2. Kent St. Charles, Willow Ridge, 35-34-69
2. David Pastore (a), Griffith E. Harris GC, 32-37-69
2. Grant Turner, Siwanoy CC, 35-34-69
5. Cory Muller, CC of Darien, 36-34-70
5. Chris Scialo, Paramount CC, 32-38-70
7. Michael Karger (a), Century CC, 37-35-72
7. Frank Bensel, Century CC, 34-38-72
7. Joe Gothmann, Ardsley CC, 33-39-72
7. Jim Wahl, Whippoorwill Club, 35-37-72
7. James Ondo, The Apawamis Club, 34-38-72
7. Sam Bernstein (a), Century CC, 36-36-72
7. Maxwell Buckley (a), Westchester CC, 37-35-72
7. Paul Selvaggio, Wykagyl CC, 38-34-72
15. Garrett Davitt, Quaker Ridge GC, 38-35-73
15. Colin Amaral, Metropolis CC, 34-39-73
15. Del Ponchock, Hudson National, 37-36-73
15. Rob Labritz, GlenArbor GC, 37-36-73
15. Greg Bisconti, St. Andrews GC, 34-39-73
15. Chris Deforest, Rondout CC, 35-38-73
15. Daniel Balin, Burning Tree CC, 37-36-73
15. Nicholas Yaun, Brae Burn CC, 37-36-73
23. Keith Neidig, Wee Burn CC, 36-38-74
23. Matt Decker, Hudson National, 40-34-74
23. Craig Thomas, Metropolis CC, 37-37-74
23. Tony DeMaria, Unaffiliated, 38-36-74
23. Ned Zachar (a), GlenArbor GC, 35-39-74
23. Carl Alexander, Golf Club of Purchase,39-35-74
23. Grant Sturgeon, Winged Foot GC,*35-39-74