BLOOMFIELD, NJ (Oct. 9, 2013) -- An up-and-down round that included bogeys on his final three holes resulted in a 3-over-par 74, yet for Allan Small of Fairmount, it was good enough to win his third consecutive title and fifth in the past six years in the NJSGA’s 55thSenior Amateur Championship contested Tuesday and Wednesday, October 8-9, at the Forest Hill Field Club in Bloomfield.
Small, who finished at 73-74-147, outlasted long-time friend Jay Blumenfeld of Mountain Ridge (73-75-148), who has twice finished as runner-up in three appearances in the event. Third place went to John Lay Jr. of Howell Park (74-76-150). Tied for fourth place were Bill Snouffer of Panther Valley (79-74-153), Rick Garrigan of Forest Hill (76-77-153) and Tom Hyland of Little Mill (75-78-153).
Small was the first player to win the NJSGA Amateur, Mid-Amateur and Senior Amateur when he won the Senior Amateur in 2008 at Crestmont.
Small earned an exemption into the 2014 NJSGA Mid-Amateur. Small has won the Senior Amateur in 2008, ’09, ’11, ’12 and ‘13. It was announced that next year’s Senior Amateur will take place at Deal Golf and Country Club.
Jim Noe of Manasquan River repeated as champion in the Super Senior division for golfers 65 and over as he carded 74-79-153 to win by a stroke over Ned Steiner of Mountain Ridge (78-76-154). Peter Broms of Montclair (79-76-155) was third and Jay Green of Alpine (76-83-159) was fourth.
Low net went to John Lay Jr. in the Seniors at 144 while Dick Altschul of Forest Hill took low net in the Super Seniors at 141.
“Jay and I both played well. This is a classic course and it’s easy to get out of position and then hit an approach shot that puts you out of position on the green,” said Small, who turned 62 on Sept. 10.
“The key hole was the 14th, a par-5. I hit a three wood onto the green and two-putted for par and Jay went over the green and ended up with bogey. That gave me a two-shot advantage,” Small explained.
The lead shrank to one shot on the par-3 16thhole when Small three-putted from 22 feet for bogey and Blumenfeld managed a par from 40 feet.
On the par-4 17th, both found the right rough with their drives. Blumenfeld was forced to chip out and his next shot, from 120 feet, left him a 20-footer for par. Small punched out of the rough short of the green onto the apron, about 100 feet from the hole. He used a putter from there to get within four feet for a par. Both golfers missed the par attempts, however.
On the 168-yard, par-3 18th hole, which includes an elevated green, both tee shots made the green and both were far right of the flagstick. Small putted first, from 35 feet and got to eight feet. Blumenfeld’s attempt from 30 feet, curled 10 feet away from the hole. Both failed to convert the par attempts and settled for bogeys. It meant victory for Small.
“I played OK. I tried not to make it match play. I just tried to play my game,” said Blumenfeld, who has played in 11 USGA events, including this year’s Senior Amateur. He was also sixth in the Canadian Senior Amateur this summer and won the NJSGA Tournament of Club Champions last week at Navesink.
“I want to work hard this summer and come back and win this again next year,” said Small, who was a member of the NJSGA’s victorious Stoddard Trophy match team this summer. “We both work at it very hard and keep ourselves fit, and we love it. Jay and I are happiest when we’re beating kids in the tournaments.”
Noe hung on to win despite seven bogeys and a double bogey. He did card one birdie, on the par-5 fourth hole.
“It was the first cool day for golf, and the ball was going five-to-seven yards shorter than normal. It was hard to judge distances,” said Noe, 69. He is the first repeat winner in the short three-year history of the event.
When Noe won the Manasquan River club championship in 2009, he was the oldest ever at 66. He only started playing golf in 1993.
“Today, I was really focusing on staying on the fairway and getting on the green. I didn’t manage my distance well. I kind of stumbled in, but I did hit a lot of solid shots. I didn’t play as badly as my scorecard indicates,” he said.
View results for New Jersey Senior Amateur Golf Championship