Absecon, NJ, (May 3, 2012) -- Brian Komline of Black Oak took the more difficult path to attain the previous unreachable NJSGA individual “Grand Slam.”
On Thursday, Komline, 38, won his first NJSGA Mid-Amateur, defeating 2011 Player of the Year Mike Stamberger, 3 and 2, in the match-play final in the 29th State Mid-Amateur, at challenging Galloway National. It took a 2-under-par performance for Komline to get past Stamberger, who was at 1-over.
Komline took the toughest leg of that Grand Slam by winning the State Open, not once, but twice (2005 and ’06), then took a state Publinx title and claimed the State Amateur in 2010. He added a fifth major, the NJSGA Four-Ball, with partner Niall Handley of Essex Fells in 2008.
Ironically, Komline had to get past Handley, his former college teammate at Fairleigh Dickinson, in the Mid-Am semifinal Thursday morning, 3 and 1. Stamberger, meanwhile, the 2008 Mid-Am champion, ousted Michael Hyland of Little Mill (State Amateur champion, 1998) in the other semifinal, 3 and 2.
Komline was the medalist in the Mid-Am stroke-play on yuesday, with an even-par 71, to win by two shots. It did him no favors as he barely squeaked by Trevor Randolph of Hyatt Hills, 19 holes, then had to get past both Handley, the reigning MGA Mid-Amateur champion, and POY Stamberger.
“I drew a perennial winner in Mike Stamberger for the final and I knew it would take my best golf to beat him,” Komline said. “And it was my best match on a very demanding golf course. I didn’t have any bogies until the 15th hole. I just tried to keep the pressure on him.”
Komline got the jump in the match by winning the third, fourth and fifth holes to go 3 up. He missed birdie opportunities to pull further in front and when he didn’t, Stamberger made a charge. The 40-year-old won the par-5 ninth with an 8-foot birdie putt to make it 2-up.
On the par-4, dogleg 12th, Stamberger drained a 6-foot putt for a birdie to close to within 1-up, Komline leading.
On the next hole, the 4 par-4, 453-yard 13th, Komline hit his best shot of the day, a four-iron from 194 into a stiff breeze, and placed it six feet from the cup. He made the birdie to go 2 up and never looked back.
“You would think the easiest part of the Grand Slam would be the Mid-Amateur. It’s for guys 30 and over. But for me, I never had the time to practice in the early part of the season,” Komline said. “The difference is my four-year-old son, Kellan. He wants to go golfing every day, so now I go to the range a lot. I’ve been able to hit balls with my son, and get into it early this year.”
He’s now looking forward to winning a second State Am, this year at Baltusrol.
``This was about Brian playing great. I got down early, and it’s hard to come back with birdies when the pins are tucked in the corners,” Stamberger said. ``I give the credit to Brian. He didn’t miss a shot.”