Wildman’s Summer: Preview of the Monroe
While several of the top amateurs are playing at the U.S. Open at Congressional, I thought I’d fill you in on where you can find most of the others. Wednesday is Round 1 of the Monroe Invitational Championship in Pittsford, N.Y.
Here’s a preview:
Tournament: Monroe Invitational Championship
Course: Monroe Golf Course
City: Pittsford, N.Y.
Length: 6,915 yards
Round 1 begins: Wednesday
Format: 72-hole stroke play with tournament ending on Saturday
2010 champion: Kyle Peterman
Previous champions include Dustin Johnson (2007), Kyle Reifers (2004), Michael Morrison (1999), Chris DiMarco (1988)
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The scoop: The first Monroe took place in 1937, and the event endures today as one of the most anticipated amateur tournaments. The field this year is a little down from years past, but with so many top amateurs attempting to qualify - and in some cases, actually making it - for the U.S. Open, Monroe officials just couldn’t get all the commitments that they wanted. This will be a tournament that, for a select few, can make or break their chances for the Walker Cup in September in Scotland. U.S. Walker Cup captain Jim Holtgrieve will be at Congressional for the U.S. Open, but he is certain to be checking the scores from the Monroe. There are a few players on his radar, and a win here can only help their chances of making the squad.
Wildman’s Pick: Lee Bedford. In an average field, Bedford will enter the tournament as one of the highest-ranked players. Last week, he nearly won the Sunnehanna Amateur before falling in a playoff to Nathan Smith. Monroe Golf Course has eight par 4s that are 400-plus yards, with small greens. Watching Wake Forest's Bedford during the college season, his ability to hit it long and straight, plus his iron game, is apparent. Look for Bedford to continue his strong summer start with a victory this week in New York. Also, a win here will get Holtgrieve’s attention after a strong start to the amateur season at Sunnehanna.
Sleeper Pick: Jordan Russell. The rising senior at Texas A&M knows how to finish strong, but he just doesn’t quite get the job done to win a tournament. Last year for the Aggies, Russell finished in the top 5 at seven tournaments. Russell has the game to compete and to win this tournament. While in college, Russell often played against the best amateurs in the world during a demanding collegiate schedule. However, this week at the Monroe, the competition isn’t as great as what he has seen in college in recent years. This could be the tournament where Russell gets over the hump and adds a trophy to his wall. He should finish in the top 10, but to land a Walker Cup berth, victories matter.