The top two seeds were ousted in the afternoon, including points leader Frank Mellet of Colonie Golf & Country Club, and several matches went extra holes in the morning during the first day of the Northeastern New York PGA Match Play Championship Tuesday at The Sagamore Resort and Golf Club.
Mill Road Acres head pro Peter Gerard, a four-time NENYPGA Player of the Year, stunned the top-seeded Mellet, 4-and-3, in one featured quarterfinal, while Tom Oppedisano of McGregor Links Country Club knocked off second-seeded Bob Mucha of Greenock Country Club, 4-and-3, in the other bracket.
In the other two quarterfinals, 2009 NENYPGA Stroke Play titlist Anders Mattson of Saratoga National ousted former Match Play champion Ian Breen of Colonie Golf & Country Club, 3-and-2, and Kevin Hughes of Saratoga Golf & Polo Club, also a former Match Play winner, eliminated The Edison Club assistant pro Nathan Kain, 3-and-2.
“I hit a few of my tee shots just plain ugly, but for the most part, I hit the ball pretty solidly,” said Gerard, who has won two previous Match Play Championships. “I think I was only out of one hole, No. 10, and I birdied the seventh, 12th and 14th holes. I’ve been fighting a hook lately, but I think I figured something out at the Club Professional Championship. I do know that Frank wasn’t at his best. He said his back was bothering him.”
“I got behind early,” said the 50-year-old Mellet, who is not only the defending champion of the event but has also won most of the major championships in the section this season, including last month’s Stroke Play Championship and the Donald Ross Classic earlier this summer. “I lost both the first and third holes in my quarterfinal, and I just didn’t hit it well enough. Peter played well. He hit his driver well, for the most part, and he made some putts.
“I had a good season. I can’t complain,” Mellet said.
Hughes, who won the 1996 Match Play title, clinched his match with Kain by chipping in for birdie on the 16th hole, but most of his holes were won with pars. After losing the third hole, he won the fourth, fifth, seventh and eighth holes with pars. Kain came back with a birdie to win the 11th hole, but Hughes took the 13th hole with a par.
“I just played pretty steady golf by hitting most of the fairways and greens,” Hughes said. “I played much better golf in my morning match [a 3-and-2 win over Glenn Davis of Albany Country Club]. In that match, I had four birdies.”
This is the furthest that Oppedisano has ever advanced in the Match Play Championship, and he is seeking his first section major.
“I was pretty beat after my morning match [a 1-up win in 21 holes over David Lis of Wolferts Roost Country Club],” said Oppedisano. “I practically whiffed my first drive of the afternoon, and then I hit a bad approach shot on the second hole, and all of a sudden, I was 2-down. I was exhausted, both physically and mentally.”
But Oppedsiano bounced back to win the fourth, fifth and sixth holes with pars.
“The big turning point of the match was on the 13th hole,” Oppedisano explained. “I hit my tee shot 40 yards left, and it was gone. But I teed it up again, and I ended up with a bogey, while Bob had a six. I thought I was going to lose the hole, and I end up winning it. Bob missed some key up-and-downs, and I didn’t.”
Mattson, a long-hitter known for his birdie sprees, got ahead of Breen early with birdies on the third, fourth and sixth holes.
“I was 4-up after six holes. I ended up losing the seventh and eighth holes, but I went ahead again, and then I made a lot of pars the rest of the way to hold on for the win,” he said. “I would love to add another major to my stroke play title.”
Seeding was based on how the pros finished in the Stroke Play Championship at The Edison Club.
Gerard takes on Hughes in one semifinal this morning at 8, while Oppedisano squares off against Mattson at 8:09. The winners meet in the final no later than 30 minutes upon the conclusion of their semifinals.
First round — 1-Frank Mellet (Colonie G&CC) def. 16-Don Bingham (Onteora), 2-and-1; 8-Peter Gerard (Mill Road Acres) def. 9-Jeremy Kerr (Mohawk GC), 3-and-2; 4-Kevin Hughes (Saratoga Golf & Polo) def. 13-Glenn Davis (Albany CC), 3-ands-2; 12-Nathan Kain (The Edison Club) def.
5-Tom Falotico (Dick’s Sporting Goods) by forfeit (back injury); 2-Bob Mucha (Greenock CC) def. 15-Matt Felber (Albany CC), 1-up, 19th hole; 7-Tom Oppedisano (McGregor Liks CC) def. 10-David Lis (Wolferts Roost CC), 1-up, 21st hole; 3-Anders Mattson (Saratoga National) def. 14-Tom Siddon (Massena CC), 3-and-2; 6-Ian Breen (Colonie G&CC) def. 11-Rick Pohle (Taconic GC), by forfeit (work conflict).
First round — 8-Gerard def. 1-Mellet, 4-and-3; 4-Hughes def. 12-Kain, 3-and-2; 7-Oppedisano def. 2-Mucha, 4-and-3; 3-Mattson def. 6-Breen, 3-and-2.
Semifinal pairings — 8-Gerard vs.
4-Hughes, 8 a.m.; 7-Oppedisano vs. 3-Mattson, 8:09.