Five tied for lead at windy Ike
Long Islanders like the progression and the diversity of seasons here: winter, spring, summer, fall and East End. The latter is an entity, of course, and its 30-mph gusts made par mostly just a dream Tuesday in the first round of the Ike Championship.
Actually, it was more the steady 25-mph wind that kept everyone from shooting par 72 or better at Atlantic Golf Club in Bridgehampton. The consensus in the Metropolitan Golf Association's major for amateurs was that par was more like 76. So 73, shot by five golfers, was just fine.
"Early on, on the first tee, I would have signed up for that score," said Joe Saladino of Huntington, one of the five leaders heading into the 36-hole stroke play final Wednesday.
"It was obviously rough out there, but it was playable," said Ryan McCormick, the St. John's junior-to-be who was medalist at Long Island's U.S. Open qualifier, then won the New Jersey Amateur. He was tied with Saladino, Mike Miller and Sam Bernstein (both of Westchester) and Charlie Edler (New Jersey).
This being the East End, golfers weren't complaining about how tough it was. They were noticing how nice everything looked. Thus, they believed they should have done better.
"I putted awful," said McCormick, who spent U.S. Open week at the Olympic Club with his dad, Mark, who played in the event. "I could have had something really special going today; 73 was about the worst I could have shot."
As odd as it might sound, the wind affected putts much more than it did shots in the air. Golfers said the ball seemed to shake when it sat on the green.
"Especially on a breaker, when you're not sure which way it's going to go, the wind will definitely take the ball in a different direction," said teenager Jim Liu of Smithtown, who shot 77 but withdrew because he has an appointment in California with swing coach John Anselmo (who once taught Tiger Woods).
The Ike was scheduled to be over Tuesday, but was pushed back by Monday storms that left streams down the fairways. "It was the longest day of my life," said superintendent Bob Ranum, who drew praise for making the course look as if not a drop of rain had fallen.
All things considered, it has worked out. "Playing a few more rounds out here," Saladino said, "is always good."