Four Share First-Round Lead at Mid-Amateur September 7, 2012 | Lake Forest, Ill. By Christina Lance, USGA

A quartet of players shot 2-under 69s to tie for the lead following Saturday's first round of stroke-play qualifying at the 2012 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship.

Michael Castleforte, 30, of Chicago and John Rudolph, 35, of San Diego played at the par-71, 7,078-yard Conway Farms Golf Club, while John Ehrgott, 37, of Peoria, Ill., and Matthew Mattare, 26, of New York returned scores at the par-71, 7,148-yard Knollwood Club, the companion course for the two stroke-play qualifying rounds.

The 2012 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship consists of 36 holes of stroke play, with the low 64 scorers among the field of 264 players advancing to match play, which features six rounds, including a 36-hole final scheduled for Thursday beginning at 7 a.m. (CDT).

Castleforte opened with an up-and-down par save from 130 yards at the par-4 10th hole (his first), and followed with a birdie at the par-3 11th to gain some early momentum. Winds gusting nearly to nearly 20 mph, played tricks with his game mid-round, and he dropped back to even par with a bogey at the par-4 fifth.

Birdies at the eighth and ninth holes, the final two of his round, ended Castleforte’s day on a high note.

"Too many times in Mid-Am golf, it goes the other way in the end because we only play a couple tournaments a year," said Castleforte. "It was nice to take it in the right direction."

Castleforte, the general counsel and head of business development at United Shore Financial Services, called nearby Chicago home for nearly five years, though he recently relocated to Birmingham, Mich., a Detroit suburb. Despite his close proximity to both Conway and Knollwood, he had never set foot on either course until his Mid-Amateur practice rounds.

"In terms of USGA events, I can't remember any one where they had two great courses like this," said Castleforte, who played in the 2008 and 2011 Mid-Amateurs and also competed in the 2000, 2003 and 2004 U.S. Amateurs. "The greens are tough, but we were fortunate. The wind kind of laid down in the morning. You had nine holes or so where you could really go after it."

Mattare carded three birdies and only one bogey during his steady round at Knollwood Club, hitting 13 greens in regulation. However, the University of Notre Dame graduate said his round could have been even better.

"I hit the ball great," said Mattare, the runner-up at the 2012 Metropolitan Golf Association’s Met Amateur Championship. "My ball-striking was on point. I probably missed four or five birdies inside of 12 feet."

Mattare, an operations analyst for Morgan Stanley, resides in Midtown Manhattan, which takes a toll on his practice opportunities. He often spends his weekends nearly 90 miles west in his hometown of Bethlehem, Pa., where his father, Gene, works as the general manager and head professional at Saucon Valley Country Club. Saucon Valley, which has hosted six USGA championships, will be the site of the 2014 Mid-Amateur, giving the elder Mattare two reasons to make the trek to Illinois.

"He was coming out here for a future sites [visit], so I gave him something to watch," said Mattare.

Like Mattare, Rudolph is competing in his first USGA championship. However, he is anything but intimidated by the national-championship experience.

"[I expect] to win," said Rudolph. "That's what I came here for. It's a cliched remark, but I know if I can play well, I can beat anybody."

Rudolph was aggressive from the start at Conway Farms, opening with a birdie at the par-4 first hole. He played a controlled round, adding three more birdies against two bogeys.

"I hit a lot of fairways and made some good putts," said Rudolph. "I think it's what you have to do out here to shoot a good score."

Of course when you're hitting the ball well and you're rolling your putts in, then the course doesn't seem that hard. But you can make a high number on any hole and I didn't do that.

Ehrgott started strong with a birdie on the par-4 second hole at Knollwood Club. He played steady par golf over the ensuing 12 holes, before carding a bogey at the par-4 15th. He quickly recovered with a birdie at the par-5 16th, and capped his round with another 15-foot birdie at 18.

"Between the wind and the rough, I think this course is playing brutally hard," said Ehrgott, who reached the second round of match play at the 2008 Mid-Amateur at Milwaukee Country Club. "I was fortunate enough to draw some good breaks the couple of times that I hit it in the rough."

Three players sit one stroke back of the leaders. Tom Hart, 32, of Denver; Corby Segal, 41, of Santa Clarita, Calif.; and Todd White, 44, of Spartanburg, S.C., all carded 1-under 70s at Conway Farms. Segal is a professional PGA Tour caddie for Briny Baird.

Defending champion Randal Lewis, 55, of Alma, Mich., had a rocky start to his title defense, carding a bogey and two double bogeys over his opening five holes. He added three more bogeys to go with two birdies for a 6-over 77 at Conway Farms.

"It was tough to read the wind in spots out there," said Lewis. "Directionally, I couldn't figure out sometimes which way it was going."

Mason Casper, 25, of Lindon, Utah, carded a 1-over 72 at Knollwood Club. Casper is the grandson of two-time U.S. Open champion Billy Casper. Among those tied with Casper at one over are two-time Mid-Amateur champion Tim Jackson, 53, of Germantown, Tenn., and retired Major League Baseball pitcher Erik Hanson, 47, of Kirkwood, Wash., who both played at Conway Farms, as well as 25-year-old Canadian Garrett Rank, a member of the Canadian National Team, who played his first round at Knollwood Club.

Kenny Cook, 32, of Noblesville, Ind., the 2011 runner-up, sits four strokes back after a 2-over 73 at Conway Farms. Cook defeated Castleforte in the first round of match play at Shadow Hawk Golf Club en route to the final match.

Three-time Mid-Amateur champion Nathan Smith, 34, of Pittsburgh, Pa., is in a tie for 30th following his 2-over 73 at Conway Farms. Smith is seeking to become the first four-time Mid-Amateur champion.

Tom Strange, 30, of Raleigh, N.C., the son of 1988-89 U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange, carded a 5-over 76 at Knollwood Club. Gary Nicklaus, 43, of Jupiter, Fla., the son of eight-time USGA champion Jack Nicklaus, struggled to a 10-over 81 at Conway Farms.

The U.S. Mid-Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

Christina Lance is a coordinator of championship communications for the USGA. Email her at clance@usga.org.

Lake Forest, Ill. – Results of Saturday’s first round of stroke-play qualifying at the 2012 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, played at the 7,078-yard, par-71 Conway Farms Golf Club and the 7,148-yard, par-71 Knollwood Club (CF=Conway Farms, KC=Knollwood Club):

John Rudolph, San Diego, Calif. 33-36--69 CF
Michael Castleforte, Chicago, Ill. 34-35--69 CF
Matthew Mattare, New York, N.Y. 34-35--69 KC
John Ehrgott, Peoria, Ill. 34-35--69 KC
Todd White, Spartanburg, S.C. 34-36--70 CF
Corby Segal, Santa Clarita, Calif. 36-34--70 CF
Tom Hart, Denver, Colo. 33-37--70 CF
Tim Hogarth, Northridge, Calif. 34-37--71 CF
Richard Berkmeyer, St. Louis, Mo. 35-36--71 KC
Douglas Hanzel, Savannah, Ga. 35-36--71 KC
Doug Clapp, Walpole, Mass. 35-36--71 KC
Joe April, Philadelphia, Pa. 36-35--71 KC
Dan Crockett, Nashville, Tenn. 37-34--71 KC
Joseph Benedetti, Huntington Beach, Calif. 35-37--72 CF
Scott Harvey, Greensboro, N.C. 37-35--72 CF
Sean Knapp, Oakmont, Pa. 37-35--72 CF
Scott Hval, Portland, Ore. 37-35--72 CF
Garrett Rank, Canada 36-36--72 CF
Trevor Sauntry, Houston, Texas 36-36--72 CF
Tim Jackson, Germantown, Tenn. 34-38--72 CF
Adam Walicki, Phoenix, Ariz. 34-38--72 CF
Walter Todd, Laurens, S.C. 35-37--72 CF
Erik Hanson, Kirkland, Wash. 37-35--72 CF
Todd Burgan, Knoxville, Tenn. 38-34--72 KC
Bryan Norton, Mission Hills, Kan. 36-36--72 KC
Andrew Chapman, Traverse City, Mich. 38-34--72 KC
Ronald Laverdiere, Amherst, Mass. 36-36--72 KC
Jason Higton, Fresno, Calif. 36-36--72 KC
Mason Casper, Springville, Utah 37-35--72 KC
Ricky Stockton, Salinas, Calif. 37-36--73 CF
Michael Muehr, Potomac Falls, Va. 36-37--73 CF
Brian Tennyson, Fullerton, Calif. 36-37--73 CF
Jeff Wilson, Fairfield, Calif. 36-37--73 CF
Nathan Smith, Pittsburgh, Pa. 36-37--73 CF
Paul Simson, Raleigh, N.C. 35-38--73 CF
Jeff Coffman, Oklahoma City, Okla. 35-38--73 CF
Stephen Anderson, Hobe Sound, Fla. 38-35--73 CF
George Zahringer, New York, N.Y. 34-39--73 CF
Brian Komline, Bridgewater, N.J. 36-37--73 CF
Kenny Cook, Noblesville, Ind. 37-36--73 CF
Trevor Randolph, Cliffside Park, N.J. 37-36--73 CF
Nathan Colson, Milwaukee, Wis. 37-36--73 KC
Brad Valois, Warwick, R.I. 37-36--73 KC
Nate Mosby, Jacksonville, Fla. 36-37--73 KC
Mark Cusic, California, Md. 37-36--73 KC
Sammy Schmitz, Farmington, Minn. 36-37--73 KC
Uly Grisette, Winston Salem, N.C. 34-39--73 KC
Nikhil Desai, Sanford, Fla. 36-37--73 KC
Matt Robertson, Chattanooga, Tenn. 35-38--73 KC
Christopher Davis, Beaumont, Texas 37-37--74 CF
Daniel Russo, Hagaman, N.Y. 36-38--74 CF
Justin Hendrix, Santa Margarita, Calif. 36-38--74 CF
John Patterson, Bluffton, S.C. 34-40--74 CF
Brian Haskell, St. Joseph, Mo. 35-39--74 CF
Matt Cohn, San Francisco, Calif. 36-38--74 CF
Dennis Bull, Norwalk, Iowa 37-37--74 CF
Brian Kennedy, Highland Beach, Fla. 35-39--74 CF
Daniel Day, Clemson, S.C. 39-35--74 CF
Jerry Ledzinski, Carmel, Calif. 37-37--74 CF
Stephen Cox, Jonesboro, Ark. 37-37--74 CF
Patrick Christovich, New Orleans, La. 37-37--74 KC
Matthew Rosen, Tucson, Ariz. 37-37--74 KC
Billy Jackson, The Woodlands, Texas 37-37--74 KC
Danny Simmerman, Nashville, Tenn. 37-37--74 KC
Jeff Murphy, Pleasant Hill, Calif. 35-39--74 KC
Jon Lindstrom, Broomfield, Colo. 37-37--74 KC
Chris Forbes, Katy, Texas 37-37--74 KC
Ryan Patrick, Vienna, Va. 38-36--74 KC
Daniel Debra, Lutz, Fla. 35-40--75 CF
Scott Stevens, Encinitas, Calif. 37-38--75 CF
Kevin Wassmer, Poseyville, Ind. 37-38--75 CF
Mark Strickland, Woodstock, Ga. 40-35--75 CF
Paul Buttafuoco, Enfield, Conn. 35-40--75 CF
Tom Werkmeister, Kentwood, Mich. 37-38--75 CF
Edward Richardson, England 38-37--75 CF
Chip Lutz, Reading, Pa. 34-41--75 CF
Patrick Datz, Ames, Iowa 38-37--75 CF
Michael Stamberger, Brielle, N.J. 39-36--75 CF
Scott Congdon, Foxboro, Mass. 39-36--75 KC
Dan Horner, Sandy, Utah 34-41--75 KC
Thomas Brennan, Covington, La. 38-37--75 KC
John Wright, Aurora, Ill. 37-38--75 KC
Bobby Brent III, Columbus, Ga. 36-39--75 KC
Robert Godfrey, Anderson, S.C. 36-39--75 KC
Zane Goldthorp, Tucker, Ga. 37-38--75 KC
Eric Williams, Honesdale, Pa. 35-40--75 KC
Mike Sauer, Albuquerque, N.M. 36-39--75 KC
Luke Vermeer, Sioux Center, Iowa 40-35--75 KC
Charlie Blanchard, North Providence, R.I. 37-38--75 KC
Kyle Kovacs, Sherman Oaks, Calif. 36-40--76 CF
Ronald Denunzio, Jeannette, Pa. 37-39--76 CF
Allan Small, Florham Park, N.J. 39-37--76 CF
Chris Waters, Athens, Ga. 37-39--76 CF
Phil Caravia, St. Louis, Mo. 39-37--76 CF
Jesse Polk, Farmington, Minn. 39-37--76 CF
Glenn Smeraglio, Newtown, Pa. 40-36--76 CF
Erik Bertrand, Pittsburgh, Pa. 38-38--76 CF
Kevin Wolf, Lodi, Calif. 37-39--76 CF
Tim Sheppard, East Peoria, Ill. 38-38--76 CF
Robert Stelben Jr., Darien, Conn. 37-39--76 KC
David Maddox, McDonough, Ga. 37-39--76 KC
K.J. Camera, Manchester, Conn. 36-40--76 KC
Kory Bowman, Springfield, Mo. 38-38--76 KC
Brad Hardin, Fort Wayne, Ind. 36-40--76 KC
Walker Taylor, Wilmington, N.C. 38-38--76 KC
Jordan Hawkinson, Grant, Minn. 36-40--76 KC
Luke Bakke, Little Rock, Ark. 38-38--76 KC
Kevin Watford, Franklin, Tenn. 37-39--76 KC
Tom Strange, Raleigh, N.C. 38-38--76 KC
Kevin Quinn, Needham, Mass. 36-40--76 KC
Garren Poirier, Killington, Vt. 35-41--76 KC
John McClure, Los Angeles, Calif. 40-36--76 KC
John Engler, Augusta, Ga. 40-37--77 CF
Joseph Latowski, Port St Lucie, Fla. 40-37--77 CF
Greg Stebbins, Hoboken, N.J. 37-40--77 CF
Greg Wells, Hermosa Beach, Calif. 35-42--77 CF
Austin Eaton III, Attleboro, Mass. 40-37--77 CF
Brady Exber, Las Vegas, Nev. 38-39--77 CF
Greg Nichols, Sevierville, Tenn. 37-40--77 CF
Justin Johnson, Canton, Ga. 36-41--77 CF
Mark Drabik, Lancaster, N.Y. 38-39--77 CF
Bryon Shumate, Fort Smith, Ark. 39-38--77 CF
Randal Lewis, Alma, Mich. 39-38--77 CF
Scott Rowe, Hinsdale, Ill. 38-39--77 CF
Joseph Saladino, Huntington, N.Y. 38-39--77 CF
Jim Blythe, Warren, Ohio 39-38--77 CF
Mark Dabagia, Fort Wayne, Ind. 41-36--77 CF
Douglas Stadler, Wexford, Pa. 38-39--77 CF
Brian Richmeier, Aurora, Colo. 42-35--77 KC
Eric Rustand, Tucson, Ariz. 34-43--77 KC
Michael Douthit, Arlington, Texas 36-41--77 KC
Barry Dyche, Charlotte, N.C. 38-39--77 KC
Woodie Eubanks, Trussville, Ala. 38-39--77 KC
Daniel Griffiths, West Linn, Ore. 36-41--77 KC
Ben Adelberg, Boynton Beach, Fla. 35-42--77 KC
David Poteet, Suwanee, Ga. 39-38--77 KC
Tim Spitz, Pittsford, N.Y. 37-40--77 KC
Brian Csipkes, Omaha, Neb. 41-36--77 KC
John Eades, Charlotte, N.C. 37-40--77 KC
Casey Boyns, Monterey, Calif. 37-40--77 KC
Eric Fiskum, Salem, Ore. 38-40--78 CF
Nathan Clark, Charlotte, Mich. 37-41--78 CF
Marty Rifkin, Fort Wayne, Ind. 36-42--78 CF
Vikram Ashok, Manalapan, N.J. 41-37--78 CF
West Streib, New York, N.Y. 36-42--78 CF
Alan Coshatt, Birmingham, Ala. 39-39--78 CF
Jesse Bull, Minneapolis, Minn. 42-36--78 CF
Camron Howell, San Tan Valley, Ariz. 40-38--78 CF
JimBob Coleman, Billings, Mont. 34-44--78 CF
Trevor Hyde, Kerrville, Texas 40-38--78 CF
Michael Mulieri, Silver Spring, Md. 39-39--78 CF
John Culp, San Antonio, Texas 38-40--78 CF
Mel Mendenhall, Marietta, Ga. 39-39--78 CF
Andrew Grow, Madison, Wis. 39-39--78 CF
Chris Mitchell, Prosperity, S.C. 39-39--78 CF
Joseph Prince, San Diego, Calif. 38-40--78 CF
Michael Sims, West Columbia, S.C. 40-38--78 CF
Andrew Montooth, Columbus, Ohio 35-43--78 CF
John Brennan, Audubon, Pa. 37-41--78 CF
Andrew Price, Lake Forest, Ill. 39-39--78 KC
Andrew Medley, Scottsdale, Ariz. 37-41--78 KC
Brad Landry, Scott, La. 43-35--78 KC
Mark Knecht, Paducah, Ky. 39-39--78 KC
Kirk Siddens, Salt Lake City, Utah 41-37--78 KC
Daniel Metzendorf, Medina, Ohio 42-36--78 KC
Robert Evans, Austin, Texas 39-39--78 KC
Greg Kennedy, Duluth, Ga. 37-41--78 KC
Tyler Labrum, Fairfax, Va. 40-38--78 KC
Kevin Marsh, Henderson, Nev. 40-38--78 KC
Pete Krsnich, Wichita, Kan. 37-41--78 KC
Eddie Kenny, Lake Worth, Fla. 37-41--78 KC
Jeffrey Scohy, Bellbrook, Ohio 39-39--78 KC
John Moheyer, Baltimore, Md. 39-40--79 CF
Chris Hartenstein, Austin, Texas 38-41--79 CF
Ben Scribner, San Francisco, Calif. 39-40--79 CF
Ryan Tjeerdsma, Slayton, Minn. 37-42--79 CF
Andrew Lawson, Dallas, Texas 42-37--79 CF
Chris Taylor, Houston, Texas 38-41--79 CF
Gregory Flanagan, Texarkana, Texas 38-41--79 CF
David Reynolds, Trophy Club, Texas 41-38--79 CF
Drew Olson, Piedmont, Calif. 37-42--79 KC
Bowen Osborn, Wayzata, Minn. 37-42--79 KC
Nick Schenk, St. Charles, Ill. 38-41--79 KC
Justin Fraley, Allen, Texas 41-38--79 KC
Jay Potter, Chattanooga, Tenn. 41-38--79 KC
Dan Moline, Duluth, Minn. 41-38--79 KC
Adam Pecora, Oyster Bay, N.Y. 42-37--79 KC
Matt Olson, Chicago, Ill. 38-41--79 KC
Justin Warthen, Arroyo Grande, Calif. 38-41--79 KC
James Gallagher, Yorktown, Va. 36-43--79 KC
Mark Nicoletti, Napa, Calif. 41-38--79 KC
Patrick Knott, Bryn Mawr, Pa. 41-39--80 CF
Ben Campbell, Cleveland, Va. 41-39--80 CF
Travis Hunter, Irvine, Calif. 38-42--80 CF
Steven Fink, Las Vegas, Nev. 37-43--80 CF
David Zullin, Hopewell Junction, N.Y. 37-43--80 CF
David Brownback, Haslett, Mich. 39-41--80 KC
Robert Leopold, Cranston, R.I. 41-39--80 KC
Kyle George, Sierra Madre, Calif. 38-42--80 KC
Barry Erenrich, Finleyville, Pa. 39-41--80 KC
James Scorse, Rochester, N.Y. 40-40--80 KC
Kyle Nathan, Glenview, Ill. 39-41--80 KC
Chad Arsich, Mokena, Ill. 39-41--80 KC
Andrew DiRamio, Quincy, Mass. 39-41--80 KC
Tripp Davis, Norman, Okla. 39-41--80 KC
Mike Zizek, Canada 38-42--80 KC
John Schaefer, Plano, Texas 40-40--80 KC
Andrew Tapia, Raton, N.M. 40-40--80 KC
Michael Shonk, Columbus, Ohio 37-44--81 CF
Jon Veneziano, Mt. Dora, Fla. 41-40--81 CF
Mark Hanley, Rockledge, Fla. 43-38--81 CF
John O'Donnell, Los Angeles, Calif. 42-39--81 CF
Shane Humphries, Brandon, Miss. 41-40--81 CF
Steve Wilson, St. Martin, Miss. 40-41--81 CF
Gary Nicklaus, Jupiter, Fla. 38-43--81 CF
Andy Drohen, Granville, Mass. 40-41--81 KC
Sandy Pierce, Houston, Texas 38-43--81 KC
Michael Vansistine, Caledonia, Ill. 41-40--81 KC
John Kestly, Pewaukee, Wis. 39-42--81 KC
Gerry Simoni, Vista, Calif. 39-42--81 KC
Greg Sanders, Anchorage, Alaska 38-43--81 KC
Mark Mance, Whitefish, Mont. 40-41--81 KC
Richard Balla, St. Charles, Ill. 39-42--81 KC
Jason Perry, Australia 39-42--81 KC
Anthony Hejna, Buffalo, N.Y. 39-42--81 KC
Mitch Cohlmia, Tulsa, Okla. 39-42--81 KC
Chris Stutts, West Palm Beach, Fla. 41-40--81 KC
James Hammons, Port Orange, Fla. 40-42--82 CF
Marc Mandel, Conshohocken, Pa. 40-42--82 CF
John Baranco, Boise, Idaho 39-43--82 CF
Stevenson Clarke, West Palm Beach, Fla. 43-39--82 CF
Christopher Wheeler, Allen, Texas 40-42--82 CF
Robert Schustrich, Windham, Ohio 40-42--82 KC
Jared Purvis, Valdosta, Ga. 40-42--82 KC
Tyler Sharpe, Greensburg, Ky. 42-40--82 KC
Matthew Williams, Overland Park, Kan. 44-38--82 KC
Dave Womack, McDonough, Ga. 40-42--82 KC
Ryan Williams, Westbury, N.Y. 42-40--82 KC
David Vaclav, Flat Rock, Mich. 42-40--82 KC
Craig Burmeister, New York, N.Y. 44-38--82 KC
Brian Silvers, Byron, Ill. 36-46--82 KC
Jarryd Dillas, Bermuda 44-38--82 KC
Bryan Kim, Paramus, N.J. 41-42--83 CF
Mike Swingle, Bellevue, Wash. 41-42--83 CF
Kevin King, Bluffton, S.C. 43-40--83 CF
Nick Ushijima, Hillsborough, Calif. 39-44--83 KC
Ted Waldrip, Arlington, Texas 41-42--83 KC
Michael Paduano, Shrewsbury, N.J. 42-41--83 KC
Jeff Chapman, Ruidoso, N.M. 45-39--84 CF
Scott Rech, Chicago, Ill. 40-44--84 CF
Andrew Kampen, Frisco, Texas 38-46--84 CF
Kyle Nuss, Casper, Wyo. 41-43--84 CF
Scott Hasley, Winnetka, Ill. 39-45--84 KC
Tony Keim, Holt, Mich. 42-43--85 CF
Jeffrey Fortson, Palm Desert, Calif. 45-40--85 CF
Scott Bemberis, Richmond, Va. 43-42--85 KC
Eric Engelbert, Costa Mesa, Calif. 44-41--85 KC
Robert Tridle, Lincoln, Neb. 40-45--85 KC
Peter Johnson, Winfield, Ill. 43-42--85 KC
Matt Busa, Bay Village, Ohio 40-46--86 CF
Christopher Watson, Newtown, Conn. 42-45--87 CF
Corey Mays, Brandon, Miss. 40-47--87 CF
Eric Peterson, Nampa, Idaho 45-42--87 KC
Jaime Girardi, New Port Richey, Fla. 47-42--89 CF