Reigning MGA and WMGA Players of the Year set to represent the Met Area
Coming one year after a landmark victory against the Golfing Union of Ireland in the Governor Hugh L. Carey Challenge Cup at Bethpage Black, the MGA is once again poised to field an exceptionally talented team in international competition. The 16th French-American Challenge, a biennial matchup of 10-person (6-man, 4-woman) teams representing the MGA/WMGA and the Ligue de Golf de Paris, will be held October 16 and 17 at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y. The site of the 2013 U.S. Women’s Open, Sebonack is one of the Met Area’s premier clubs and the Tom Doak/Jack Nicklaus course will provide an outstanding test for these matches, which have been dominated in recent years by the Ligue de Paris.
The MGA/WMGA team that will be determined to change that history is led by co-captains Gene Bernstein, the current MGA president and a Sebonack Golf Club member, and Beth Post, the WMGA president. Of the six men on the team, five competed just last month in the USGA Men’s State Team Championship at Galloway National Golf Club in New Jersey: 2011 MGA Player of the Year Michael Miller, 20, of Knollwood Country Club; Max Buckley, 22, of Westchester Hills Country Club, and Joe Saladino, 32, of Huntington Country Club made up the victorious New York State team in that championship, while Brian Komline, 38, of Black Oak and Niall Handley, 40, of Essex Fells, represented New Jersey. Those five players are joined on the French-American squad by 15-year-old Cameron Young of Sleepy Hollow, who won three Met Area titles this year and was on the victorious Carey Cup team last fall. Of these players, only Buckley and Handley have not yet played on an MGA international team.
The female members of the team include three newcomers to MGA/WMGA team competition and one veteran, Phoebe Timpson of Locust Valley, N.Y., who has had a lot of recent success in the Met Area. Timpson, 48, is the reigning WMGA Player of the Year and won this year’s WMGA Stroke Play Championship at Rockaway Hunting Club. The woman who finished second to Timpson in that championship, Ellen Oswald of New City, N.Y., joins her on the team. Oswald, 22, is a 2012 St. John’s University graduate who also finished second in the WMGA/MGA Met Amateur Championship at Stanwich before winning the 2012 NYSGA Women’s Amateur Championship this summer. The two final members of the team are both nationally ranked teenagers who have both competed at high levels this summer: Long Island native Annie Park, 17, and 16-year-old Cindy Ha of Demarest, N.J. Park was the 2012 Long Island Player of the Year and became the first girl to win the Nassau County Boys’ High School Championship. Ha was the runner-up at the 2012 NJSGA Women’s Amateur Championship, and like Park also qualified for this year’s U.S. Women’s Public Links Championship.
The Ligue de Golf de Paris, the primary governing body for golf in Paris and its surrounding area, has a membership of 39 golf clubs, including Le Golf National, the site of the 2018 Ryder Cup. The 2012 team representing the Ligue consists of five players making their French-American Challenge debuts and five others who have competed in several matches over the years.
The more experienced players on the French team include 23-year-old female Morgane Bazin de Jessey, who went 2-1 when these matches were held in France in 2010 (a 12.5-7.5 victory for the Ligue de Golf de Paris). Also going 2-1 in 2010 were 38-year-old Christophe Ravetto and Olivier Rozner; Antoine Schwartz, 23, went 1-2 in 2010.
The Ligue de Golf de Paris last visited the Met Area for these matches in 2008, when they emerged with a 14-6 victory at Metropolis Country Club in White Plains, N.Y. The format requires all 10 players on each team to play in each of the three sessions: Fourballs and Foursomes on the first day, and singles matches on the second day. Twenty points are up for grabs, and the MGA/WMGA team needs to earn 10.5 points to win for just the second time in the history of the matches, which were first played in 1990 in Chantilly, France. The Ligue de Golf de Paris needs 10 points to retain the French-American Challenge trophy.
Preceding the matches is the French-American Challenge Am-Am, which will be held this year on Monday, October 15 at Sebonack. In addition to serving as a valuable practice round for the championship competitors, the Am-Am gives all 20 team members a chance to interact with Met Area golfers whose support of the Am-Am helps to raise money for the MGA Foundation.
Live scoring will be available for all five Foursome and Fourball matches on Tuesday, October 16, and all 10 singles matches on Wednesday, October 17. For complete coverage of the 16th French-American Challenge, visit www.mgagolf.org.
About the MGA: The Metropolitan Golf Association was founded in 1897 and is one of the nation’s oldest and largest amateur golf associations representing more than 500 clubs in the tri-state Metropolitan Area. Through a network of more than 300 volunteers, and a full-time staff operating out of its Golf Central headquarters in Elmsford, N.Y., the Association fulfills its role as a true non-profit service organization. Through a variety of unique, relevant, and innovative services for member clubs and area golfers, the MGA has established itself as a leader among local and national golf organizations.