The eyes of professional golf understandably will be on Bethpage Black this week for the first stop in the PGA Tour’s FedExCup, but they will also be taking a quick peek at Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury. The 101st Met Open will be held there Tuesday and Wednesday, providing a glimpse at the 2017 FedExCup opener.
Glen Oaks volunteered to host The Northern Trust (the new name for the tournament currently known as The Barclays) next August after Liberty National had to defer because it will host the Presidents Cup next fall. The course near the Long Island Expressway previously had hired former Bethpage superintendent Craig Currier, done a major renovation and agreed to hold this year’s Met Open.
A prestigious tournament in its own right, the Met Open this year will double as a dress rehearsal for the PGA Tour’s appearance. Luster is showing already. Glen Oaks head pro Tim Shifflett said the pro-am on Monday sold out, with 54 foursomes. It was the first sellout since the 2001 Met Open at the Black, a year before the first U.S. Open there.
Golfers, officials and spectators — the Met Open is open to the public, admission is free, tee times are at mgagolf.org — will get to see Glen Oaks’ clean, new parkland look. It has touches of Augusta National, where Currier once worked. Shifflett said the course is in excellent shape, regardless of the relentless steamy weather recently.
“We prefer ‘perfect,’ but it’s going to be really good,” the pro said.
What will be particularly interesting is seeing how top local pros, including defending champion Ben Polland, and amateurs perform on the composite course — 18 holes chosen from among Glen Oaks’ 27.
“It’s a ball-hitters’ course, so you can’t fake it,” said Shifflett, who is in the Met Open field. He added that the real challenge is in the varied rough contours around greens. “Do you chip it or use your hybrid? It makes the golfer think.”
Rock wins LI Mid-Am
Bradley Rock Jr. of Wheatley Hills Golf Club won the Long Island Mid-Amateur championship for the second consecutive year. He was 3-under-par through 36 holes at Sands Point Golf Club, three shots ahead of Colby Anderson of North Shore Country Club and Don Enga of the Cherry Valley Club.
Double eagle at Mill Pond
John Gannon, a 10 handicap from Farmingdale and member of the traveling Inis Fada Golf Club, was playing the 458-yard par-5 third hole at Mill Pond Golf Club in Medford last week when he hit a 5-iron from 189 yards. It was the shot of his life: a double-eagle 2.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t see it go in,” he said. “The green is slightly elevated and guarded by a bunker. The pin was playing in the front middle of the green just right of the bunker. My shot was straight at the pin and landed just to the right of the bunker.”
He got to the green and saw the ball in the hole, an unforgettable shot in a solid round, a 76.
Family affair at Gardiner’s Bay
Sunday was a huge occasion for Jay Sessa. He won his 15th club championship at Gardiner’s Bay on Shelter Island, on the 40th anniversary of his first title. That was not even his proudest moment of the afternoon. His daughter Samantha, a former standout at Garden City High School and now the No. 1 player on Gettysburg’s NCAA Division III championship team, won the Gardiner’s Bay women’s title for the sixth year in a row…Teddy Lewis, who made the state high school championship this past spring as a junior at Wheatley, won the Glen Head Country Club championship for the third time in the past four years.
Mike Jacobs, director of golf at Rock Hill in Manorville, this week released his book, “Elements of the Swing: Understanding the New Mechanics of Golf.” It is based on new information gleaned from the three-dimensional video swing studies Jacobs does for his students . . . Golfers at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota are hitting off mats instead of grass on par-3 tees to help preserve the course for the Ryder Cup late next month, Minneapolis TV station KARE reported . . . The New Zealand Herald reported that a course in Auckland sustained damage when Pokemon Go players drove onto the property and tore up grass while chasing a rare character.