By Dan DeFrancesco
DENVILLE, N.J. – It was a difficult day for five locals at the 97th Met Junior Championships on Wednesday at Rockaway River Country Club in Denville, New Jersey, as none advanced to Thursday’s semifinals.
Will Bernstein, a New York resident and Century Country Club member, and James Nicholas, a Scarsdale native, were knocked out in the quarterfinals in match play while Rye’s James McHugh, Somers’ Nathan Han and Katonah’s Christian Cavaliere fell in the round of 16.
Nicholas and Bernstein shot well in the quarterfinals — Nicholas was 1-under through 16 and Bernstein was even through 17 — but were paired with opponents who shot exceptionally well.
“It’s kind of what you sign up for in match play,” said Bernstein, who lost 2 and 1 to Dawson Jones of Howell,New Jersey, who was 2-under. “You can have a really bad day and still win, and you can also have a really good day and still lose. It’s kind of the name of the game.”
“Honestly, I played some great golf,” said Nicholas, who fell 3 and 2 to Farmingdale’s Matthew Lowe, who was 4-under. “I came up against a really hot Matt Lowe. He was making everything.”
In the morning, four of the locals met in the round of 16, which was made up of the top 16 finishers after 36 holes of the qualifying round played by the 220 entries on Tuesday.
Nicholas defeated McHugh 2 and 1, overcoming an early two-hole deficit by winning five of the next seven holes.
In the other matchup of locals, Bernstein defeated Cavaliere 5 and 3, securing the victory by winning four of the final five holes.
“I’ve played in a lot of these tournaments before, and I know the real key moments happen on the back nine,” Bernstein said. “I was kind of preparing myself for the closing stretch.”
Han lost the first two holes in his round of 16 matchup against John VanDerLaan of Southbury, Connecticut, and wasn’t able to recover, falling 3 and 2.
“This is my last year, so I would have liked to get a little farther, maybe try and win it” Bernstein said. “But that’s how it goes.”
97th Met Junior Championship
at Rockaway River Country Club – Par 72
Round of 16
Matthew Lowe (Farmingdale) d. Zach Egermayer (Glen Rock, N.J.) 4 and 2; James Nicholas (Scarsdale) d. James McHugh (Rye) 2 and 1; Will Bernstein (New York) d. Christian Cavaliere (Katonah) 5 and 3; Dawson Jones (Howell, N.J.) d. Ethan Ng (New York) 4 and 3; Christopher Gabriele (Cold Spring Harbor) d. Paolo Matti (Union, N.J.) 2 and 1; John VanDerLaan (Southbury, Conn.) d. Nathan Han (Somers) 3 and 2; Michael Graboyes (Watchung, N.J.) d. Christopher Troy (Greenwich, Conn.) 3 and 2; Thomas La Morte (Haworth, N.J.) d. Erick Alonson (Haworth, N.J.) 2 and 1.
Matthew Lowe (Farmingdale) d. James Nicholas (Scarsdale) 3 and 2; Dawson Jones (Howell, N.J.) d. Will Bernstein (New York) 2 and 1; John VanDerLaan (Southbury, Conn.) d. Christopher Gabriele (Cold Spring Harbor) 3 and 2; Thomas La Morte (Haworth, N.J.) d. Michael Graboyes (Watchung, N.J.) 1 up.
Photo: James Nicholas/Courtesy of the MGA