Peter Ballo places 3rd at Met Open; Mike Ballo finishes 5th
OLD WESTBURY, N.Y — Most of the golfers competing in the 101st Met Open Championship experienced some problems in one or two of their rounds at Glen Oaks Club’s challenging course.
Not Mark Brown of Tam O’Shanter Club in Glen Head, N.Y.
After shooting a 1-under-par 69 the first two rounds, Brown bested himself, Wednesday, carding a 2-under 68. Those three sparkling rounds earned Brown yet another Met Open championship trophy.
Brown became a three-time champion Wednesday, winning his third Met Open title overall and second in four years, shooting a 4-under-par 206 over three rounds at Glen Oaks Club. The 49-year-old Brown, who won the Met Open in 2013 at Old Westbury and the tournament in 1999 (Tuxedo Club) was the only player in the field to shoot under par in each round, making him a wire-to-wire leader.
Cameron Young of Sleepy Hollow Country Club placed second with an even-par 210 (70-73-67), while Stamford native Peter Ballo of Old Oaks Club and Mike Miller of Knollwood Country Club tied for third place at 3-over-par 213.
Mike Ballo Jr. of Stamford (Woodway Country Club), who entered the final round in second place, finished fifth (72-69-73—214). Meanwhile, Greenwich native David Pastore (Fairview Country Club) was tied for sixth place with Brian Mackey (White Beeches Golf & Country Club) finishing at 5-over-par 215.
Brown holed six birdie putts and parred eight holes in his final round. For the tournament, the champion registered 12 birdies and 34 pars.
“My caddy and I (Josh Rackley, an assistant professional at Tam O’Shanter) read putts and were in sync the whole three days,” Brown said. “We just jelled out there. Kudos to him for helping me.”
The victory tied Brown with four other players who have three Met Open titles.
“It feels pretty cool to keep up with the young guns,” said Brown, who played in this year’s PGA Championship. “It’s amazing how the young kids can rip it nowadays. For me to be in their class is pretty special. The key for me was just controlling the ball.”
Peter Ballo continued his fine summer. The Trinity Catholic graduate, who played at both St. John’s University and Sacred Heart University, shot a 2-under 68 Wednesday, after posting a 72 on Tuesday and a 73 in Monday’s first round.
“Everything I did well the first two days, I put together in today’s final round,” said Ballo, who also placed third in this summer’s New York State Open and third in the MGA Westchester Open. “I putted well today and I was striking the ball well.”
Ballo rolled in a 7-foot putt for birdie on the par-4, 420-yard 10th hole, then made a 20-footer for birdie on the par-4, 315-yard 11th hole. He also birdied the fifth (par-4, 470-yard), eighth (par-4, 400 yards), and the 13th hole (540-yard, par 5).
“I got off to a very good start, making the turn at 1-under, so I was feeling good,” Ballo said. “I’ve played well all summer, so to finish like this with a 2-under in the final round is great. This is the best tournament in the section and it’s a great way for me to end what has been a very good summer.”
Mike Ballo, who tied for second place in the tournament in 2012 at Plainfield Country Club, posted two birdies and 12 pars in the final round in which he 4-over.
“My ball striking was immaculate the whole tournament,” Ballo Jr. said. “From tee to green it’s the best I’ve been striking the ball all year. Today was tough for me, especially early, when I three-putted three of the first five holes.
“I wasn’t going to catch Mark (Brown) though, he played absolutely amazing and did everything right. It was fun to play a round with him.”
Up next for Ballo Jr. are two events on the Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada. He travels and rooms with David Pastore while competing in professional events with Canada.
“I feel good about how I’m playing, it was a good week for me,” Ballo Jr. said. “Had I just putted better early on today, I may have had a bettter chance to put some pressure on Mark (Brown).”
Pastore’s round of 1-under-par 69 included two birdies, 12 pars and one eagle (par-5, 540-yard 13th hole).
“After the first round (76) I knew I had a big hill to climb the next two days and I was able to have two nice rounds,” said Pastore, a 2010 Greenwich High graduate. “I was definitely able to salvage a solid finish by playing well the last two rounds. The course played easier than the first round and I was able to make some putts.”
Patrick Clark of Wee Burn Country Club tied for 11th at 7-over 217 (73-72-72), while Greg Reilly (Country Club of Darien) and Danny Balin (Burning Tree Country Club tied for 22nd with a 219.
Balin shot a 71 in each of his last two rounds.
“I did some positive things the last two rounds that will hopefully, help me, moving forward,” said Balin, who will soon leave for the PGA Tour Latinoamerica. “The course was in unbelievable shape and I was happy to play in this event once again.”
Paul Pastore, who graduated from GHS in 2014, shot a 220 over three rounds, including a 72 Wednesday.
“You can’t fall asleep on this course or it will get you,” Pastore said. “Playing in this tournament helps me build confidence competing against some of the best pros in this section.”
Andrew Gai (Longshore Country Club) shot a 222, Anthony Casalino (Innis Arden) carded a 225, Husband Kimmel III (Tamarack Country Club) finished with a 226 and Danny Guise of Greenwich (Rockaway Hunting Club) posted a 226. Brunswick graduate Michael Savitt finished the tournament with a 229.