COLTS NECK, N.J. Rain gear, layer upon layer of clothing, towels, umbrellas, gloves, and a hearty and patient attitude. These are the essential items for play in the 26th Mid-Amateur Championship at Trump National Golf Club - Colts Neck this week. After playing in identical wet and windy conditions for two days, Pete Barron of Stone Harbor G.C. and Anthony Scelba of Deer Run G.C. have emerged as the finalists for Wednesday´s championship match.
March came late to New Jersey this year. Weather conditions have made the Mid-Am particularly challenging. Temperatures in the low-50s, gusty winds and a spitting rain have been in the players´ faces all week. A well-conditioned Trump National course has held up well to remain playable under these circumstances. Set up to play approximately 6,850 yards, the course is playing considerably longer, with some long par-4s barely reachable.
Tuesday saw quarterfinal and semifinal action in morning and afternoon rounds. In his quarterfinal match, Scelba eliminated defending champion and #1 seed Michael Stamberger of Spring Lake G.C. but needed 20 holes. In fact, Scelba has won three consecutive matches on the 20th hole. If Wednesday´s final match goes to extra holes, you have to like Scelba´s chances. In the semifinal match, he went on to defeat Phil Ries of Architects G.C.
On the other hand, Pete Barron has had a relatively easy journey into the finals (irrespective of the weather, that is). After surviving a tough, extra-hole opener against Tavistock´s Sean Leonard, Barron won his succeeding three matches by sizeable margins.
Wednesday´s 18-hole championship match is set to begin at 8:00 am - weather permitting. Both Scelba and Barron are playing in their first Mid-Am final.