Upsets and the Unexpected in the Metropolitan Amateur

Brandon Berry, from Great Falls, Va., and Alex Maloy, from Potomac, provided the biggest upsets, as the defending champion and medalist, plus the 3-4-7-8 seeds were beaten on the first day of the 98th Metropolitan Amateur championship at Norbeck Country Club in Rockville, August 2.

In a second-round pairing, Berry went to work early on the back (opening) nine, where a chip-in and a 30-foot putt helped stake him to a 4-up advantage. Defender Charlie Winegardner, from Lothian, challenged with birdies at 18 and 1, but Berry responded with one at the fourth and closed it out, 4 and 3, with a 10-foot birdie at the par-3 sixth.

Alex Maloy, 14, put out qualifying leader Angus Ricks, of Arlington, Va., 1-up in the morning, but lost to 2017 Amateur titlist Bart Mease, from Gaithersburg, 5 and 3, in the afternoon. Starting on the front, Mease built a 3-up lead, only to have Maloy come back with three birdies in the last five holes to close the gap. The more-experienced Mease pulled away on the second nine, however, for a 5-and-3 victory.

Three of those who defeated the high-seeded players in the morning, lost in the afternoon, as only Nick Infanti, from Clarksburg, survived, posting a pair of 1-up decisions. He stopped Pieter DeGroot, from Potomac, then thwarted William Kim, 1 up, breaking a tie with a par at the 16th and holding the lead. No more than one hole separated the two and only one hole was won on the front nine in an extremely well-played match.

Moving out to face Berry in a quarter-final was Will Halamandaris, from Annapolis, a senior at Lafayette. He demolished two foes, winning, 6 and 4 (won six straight holes), and 6 and 5 (led all the way).

The other pairing in the top half of the draw will match Chris Weidel, from Bel Air, and Teddy Zinsner, from Alexandria, Va. Weidel said his first match featured a lot of two-putt greens, while the second — against Bryan Morris, from Beltsville — was a struggle where he was 3-down at one point after starting on the back nine. A rally Included a chip-in and he ended it with a 20-foot birdie putt on the sixth hole for a 5-and-3 win. Zinsner, a Yale University junior, put out Evan Santa, the 2016 Amateur champion from Edgewater, 3 and 2, then In the afternoon, he had Taso Scilaris 4-down after the seventh, but the latter got within two before,”Teddy started making pars,” on his way to a 2-and-1 decision.

Bryce Johnson, from Oakton, Va., recorded a pair of lop-sided victories, 6 and 4, and 7 and 5, and now to gets to face Mease in the quarter-finals. He said his short game saved him all day, as he hit a lot of bad shots, but was able to recover. The 23-year-old William and Mary graduate recently finished 10th in the Virginia State Am, and top 20 in the Virginia State Open, two starts that have boosted his confidence here.

This is Dan Falls’ first tournament this season, and with good reason. Within recent weeks, there have been some business pressures, a marriage, and a move to Columbia to be closer to his wife’s job — definitely a full plate. In the morning there was what turned out to be the only overtime match and after he and Jeremy Barto 3-putted 18 to extend it, he rolled in a 15-foot birdie on the second extra hole to end it. Against Ethan Chelf, 16, from North Potomac, Falls, a former Maryland State Mid-Am champion, went 2-up at 10, added a couple of winning pars and won, 4 and 2.

Two rounds August 3 are expected to get to the finalists for a 36-hole set on August 4.

The event is sponsored and conducted by the Washington Metropolitan Golf Association