The Metropolitan Golf Association is pleased to announce that Max Buckley of Westchester Country Club is the recipient of the 2013 MGA Jerry Courville Sr. Player of the Year Award.
The Metropolitan Golf Association is pleased to announce that Max Buckley of Westchester Country Club is the recipient of the 2013 MGA Jerry Courville Sr. Player of the Year Award. Buckley’s late-season dramatic win at the Nassau Invitational – on the final week in which Player of the Year points are awarded – closed out one of the tightest races in recent memory. The 24-year-old from Rye, will be recognized for his remarkable achievement at the 116th MGA Annual Meeting and Dinner December, at Westchester Country Club.
The Jerry Courville Sr. MGA Player of the Year Award is presented annually to the Met Area amateur who compiles the best record in select events during the course of the year, and is based on a system in which players earn points for their finishes in designated local, national, and international championships.
Buckley’s triumph at the Nassau, the penultimate event on the Met Area competitive schedule, gave him a slight edge over Andover, N.J.’s Pat Wilson in the Polo Golf MGA Points Standings by a mere 40 points.
“When I sat down with my coach [Gary Weir] at the beginning of the year, this was one of my main goals,” said Buckley, a 2013 graduate of Southern Methodist University. “Once I won a few tournaments and put myself in that position, I felt more and more comfortable in tight situations, and that’s something that really helped me.”
Buckley developed a knack for coming up big down the stretch of tournaments. It began in April while he was competing overseas as a member of the MGA Carey Cup team against the Golfing Union of Ireland. Playing in the second to last singles match on the final day, Buckley overcame a three-down deficit with four to play to win his match and secure the retention of the Cup.
In May, he edged Wilson in a sudden-death playoff to win the New York City Amateur, the first of his four victories on the season. In June, he narrowly missed qualifying for the U.S. Open (T-6 at sectionals) and recorded his second consecutive runner-up finish at the Ike Championship. A few days later, he took home the Mittelmark Invitational at Fenway with a birdie on the first hole of a three-way sudden death playoff. He claimed sole possession atop the Player of the Year standings after he finished tied for third at the Westchester Open and won the Arcola Cup by three shots in late July.
Still, standing in his way was Wilson, a 2013 graduate of St. John’s University, who stayed near the top of the standings for much of the season. The 23-year-old, who plays out of Panther Valley, took over the lead in early August after an impressive victory at the Met Amateur at Stanwich. Wilson’s lead extended to 60 points heading into the final week of the season.
But Buckley saved his finest performance for last, qualifying for match play and winning all four matches en route to the Nassau crown and Player of the Year title.
“Max is a really good player,” Wilson said. “He did what he needed to do. It was a deserving win.”
“Pat and I had a good rivalry all summer,” said Buckley said. “He played spectacular golf, especially at the Met Am. It was a tight race till the end.”
— Photo by John DeTemple/MGA