By Rob Potter
SULLIVAN COUNTY Josh Goldstein of Liberty qualified for the 2011 Met Amateur Golf Tournament by shooting a 1-under-par 71 last Tuesday at the Cherry Valley Club in Garden City, Long Island.
“It was the first time I had played the course,” Goldstein said. “Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to play a practice round at the course before the qualifier.”
“But it was good,” he added of his round.
Goldstein started on the front nine of the 18-hole event and fired a 4-under-par 33 on those first nine holes.
“I had an eagle on the first hole,” he said. “I started the round with an eagle, birdie, birdie.”
On the back nine, Goldstein carded a 38.
“I never felt truly comfortable on the course,” he explained. “On the last few holes, I just wanted to hit as many good shots as I could and qualify for the MetAm.”
Goldstein, a 2008 Liberty Central School graduate, accomplished that goal. He will be among the dozens of top golfers playing in the Met Amateur from Thursday, Aug. 4 through Sunday, Aug. 7 at Piping Rock Club in Locust Valley.
Last summer, Goldstein qualified for the U.S. Amateur and Met Open tournaments. He is looking forward to playing in the MetAm.
The Metropolitan Golf Association has held the MetAm Tournament annually since 1899 at member clubs in New York State, New Jersey and Connecticut.
“There will probably be over 100 golfers in the tournament,” said the 21-year-old Goldstein. “The first day will be 36 holes of stroke play to determine the top 16 golfers. After that, it’s match play.”
Once those top 16 golfers are determined, three 18-hole rounds of match play will narrow the field down to the final two golfers. Those two finalists will then play a 36-hole match play round to crown the tournament champion.
“It’s a lot of golf,” Goldstein said.
Of course, Goldstein is hoping to be one of those two finalists with a chance to win the prestigious event.
Goldstein has been playing a great deal of golf this summer. Last Wednesday, a day after qualifying for the MetAm, he competed in the MGA Public Links Championship at Hominy Hill Golf Course in Colts Neck, N.J. He shot a 3-over-par 75 and tied for 18th.
“It was 36 holes in one day,” Goldstein said.
He had three birdies in the competition and was 4-over-par for the final nine holes.
“On the last nine holes, I was just going for it and trying to hit the best shots I could,” Goldstein explained. “I had fun.”
In 2009, he won the MGA Public Links Championship at the Links at Shirley on Long Island. He noted that he “did alright last year” when the tournament was held at Spook Rock Golf Club in Suffern.
Goldstein recently completed his junior year at Elon University in Elon, N.C. He said that because of his busy class schedule and some personal issues, he did not play in any tournaments for the Elon Phoenix men’s golf team. Goldstein, who has a double major of Music Performance and Applied Mathematics, is scheduled to graduate in May 2012. In Feb. 2012, he will be auditioning for several graduate schools as his goal is to earn a music degree from one of those graduate schools.
“I was able to be on the team and I practiced a heck of a lot,” he said of the spring season. “All of that practice has helped me this summer. I am having a decent summer.”
While he has already played several tournaments this summer, Goldstein, who is the son of Arthur and Dot Goldstein of Liberty, will be playing a few more before returning to North Carolina for his senior year at Elon University.
Today, Josh Goldstein will be competing in the Westchester Golf Association Open at Brae Burn Golf Club in Purchase. One of the other golfers in the tournament is Liberty native Nick Yaun, who is the Head Golf Professional at Brae Burn.
Among the other tourneys Goldstein plans to play are the Met Open and next month’s Met Father and Son Tournament, where he will team up with his dad Arthur.
Altogether, Josh Goldstein will play eight or nine tournaments this summer.
“It’s been going decently well,” he said. “It’s been getting better as the summer goes along.”
Because he will be playing in the MetAm for the first time, Goldstein will not be competing in the 30th annual Sullivan County Democrat Two-Man, Better Ball Golf Tournament which will be held Aug. 5-7 at the Villa Roma County Club in Callicoon. Goldstein and Mike Culclasure of Myrtle Beach, S.C. won the Democrat tourney in 2008 and then repeated as champions in 2009.
But Goldstein noted that Culclasure is unable to play in this year’s Democrat. So even if he had not qualified for the MetAm, Goldstein would not have been among the golfers competing in the 30th annual Democrat tourney.