NJ Tournament of Club Champs: Blumenfeld, Kirk win
MIDDLETOWN, NJ (Oct. 3, 2013) -- Jay Blumenfeld of Mountain Ridge fired a 1-under-par 71 to win for a third time and Susie Kirk of Tavistock carded a 2-over-par 75 to win in her first appearance in the NJSGA Tournament of Club Champions on Thursday, October 3 at the Navesink Country Club in Middletown.

Blumenfeld won by one stroke over last year’s champion, Niall Handley of Essex Fells, who tied for the runner-up spot with Stephen Ellis of Toms River.

In the women’s division, Kirk was nine strokes clear of runner-up Riley Smyth, 14, of Knickerbocker, and 11 shots clear of third-place finisher Jesse Clancy of Essex County.

The men played at 6,631 yards to a par 72. The women played at 5,777 yards to a par 73.

“The course was great, but it was totally different from when I played in two events here this spring, the State Senior Open and the Met Senior Amateur. Then it was wet and cold. This time, it played a lot shorter,” said Blumenfeld, 61, who won his 22nd club championship this year at Mountain Ridge.

Blumenfeld did not participate in the event in 2012 in order to watch his friend, Paul Simson, win the USGA Senior Amateur, which took place at Mountain Ridge.

“The familiarity with this course was really helpful. I had a really consistent round,” said Blumenfeld, who has played in 10 USGA events, including this year’s USGA Senior Amateur. He also played in the Canadian Senior Amateur and was tied for the lead entering the final round before finishing tied for sixth.

Blumenfeld’s round included three birdies and two bogeys. The former University of Miami golfer hit 15 greens and three-putted only once. His birdies came on the par-4 first hole, with a 15-footer, on the par-5 11th hole, with a 10-footer, and the par-3 17th, with an eight-footer.

“I’m most proud of being able to stay competitive since I was a teenager playing at Millburn High School,” he said. “It’s always good to win a tournament, especially one staged by the New Jersey State Golf Association.”

Kirk, 46, is a native of Indiana and has been inducted into the Indiana High School Coaches Hall of Fame. She won the “Mental Attitude Award” for the entire state during her high school career at Columbus North. She went on to golf at Auburn.

The mother of three -two girls ages 20 and 18 and a boy,14 – is a five handicap golfer who had never seen Navesink until Thursday.

“My game was teetering on making a jump like this. I could tell it was coming,” said Kirk of her victory by such a wide margin. Kirk has won the club championship at Tavistock eight times.

“I started off rocky, bogeying the first four holes. Then the putter started to work and I started to make some birdies. I was very consistent off the tee, also,” she said.

Her longest birdie putt was a downhill, downgrade 25-footer on the par-3 seventh hole. She nearly had her first ace on the 17th hole.

“My caddie said it hit the hole, but didn’t go in. It ended up three feet away and I made birdie,” she said.

Smyth is an eighth-grader in Old Tappan. Her best round ever was a 77 in this summer’s NJSGA Junior Girls tournament at Rumson.

ABOUT THE New Jersey Tournament of Champions

18-hole stroke play championship for NJSGA members who have won a championship during the current season.

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