DENVILLE, N.J. — In his last two rounds of New Jersey State Golf Association competition, amateur Max Greyserman of Crestmont has been a birdie machine.
On June 4, Greyserman, a rising junior at Duke University, overcame a six-shot deficit heading into the final 18 holes with a six-under-par 64 to win the 114th New Jersey State Golf Association Amateur Championship by one shot at Morris County Golf Club in Morristown.
The 64 was also an amateur course record at Morris County Golf Club.
Yesterday, Tuesday, July 14, Greyserman, the defending State Open champion, found the birdie range again. He carded seven birdies in all against two bogeys, and birdies on his final two holes, the par-3 eighth and par-4 ninth, got him into first place at five-under-par 67 in the opening round of the 54-hole, 95thState Open Championship at the par-72, 6,507-yard Rockaway River Country Club in Denville.
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Greyserman, 20, a rising junior at Duke University who lives in Short Hills, enters Wednesday’s second round with a one-stroke lead over amateur Ryan Snouffer, a Seton Hall University rising senior from Sparta, and pro Tyler Hall of Upper Montclair.
Two strokes back at 3-under-par 69 are pros John McCarthy of Morris County and Alex Beach of Ridgewood. At 2-under 70 are pro Jeff Bonicky of Sea Oaks and amateur Erick Alonso of Darlington, a rising sophomore at St. Leo in Florida.
“Right now, I don’t feel any pressure,”said Greyserman, who won the State Open last July by three shots. “I might feel it tomorrow or Thursday, but I don’t right now. I want to keep doing what I’m doing.”
Greyserman said he employs a “green-read” system that is working well for him.
“Once I get the speed down, I feel I can make the putts. I feel I’m reading them really well. This course has the same type grass on the greens as Morris County, so I feel I can see the breaks.”
Greyserman is only the second player in NJSGA history to win the Open and Amateur within one year after Billy Ziobro did it in 1970. He stated that he started working under a new swing coach this spring.
“We worked on every part of my game and I’ve been practicing a good amount. My game seems pretty solid. My driving is straight off the tee, but I only used driver once on my back nine. The par fours are pretty short here, I used my wedge a lot. That’s why I played so well on the back nine.”
Snouffer, who transferred to Seton Hall after winning two conference championships at Division 2 Adelphi, was the second round leader after he shot 70-67 in the 2014 State Amateur at Knickerbocker.
Mike Stamberger of Spring Lake won the 72-hole Amateur championship with Snouffer placing sixth, eight shots behind.
Hall, 33, a native of Wayne, played 10 years on the mini-tour circuit until taking over as the Director of Instruction at Upper Montclair this year. He had victories on three different tours and played in one PGA event. He also won the Met Open in 2011.
Hall is familiar with Rockaway River, having played in junior events at the club. His father, Larry Hall, played nearly every year in the NJPGA Charity Clambake at Rockaway River.
The last time he played in the State Open was as an amateur in 2004.
“I didn’t make any putts outside of six feet, but I had a few kick-ins. I hit it well tee to green. This course has always suited my eye. The course is in perfect shape,” Hall said.
McCarthy, 40, was third in this year’s Charity Clambake, which was held at Hamilton Farm in Gladstone.
“I had a lesson with Len Siter early in the year, and it put my head in a good place. I worked on my back swing and I’m hitting the ball well,” said McCarthy, a Neptune native who qualified for the National Club Pro Championship in 2013 and 2104.
Beach, 25, is in his second year as an assistant pro at Ridgewood and is playing in his second State Open. He is a native of Minnesota who attended the University of Nebraska. His previous job was at Burning Tree in Bethesda, Md.
“I hit driver only four times today. Finesse course are not my cup of tea. I had an eagle on (par-5) No. 4, when I hit a five iron from 202 yards to six feet. New Jersey golf is well run and well attended. I’ve learned a lot from playing with guys like Jim McGovern and Brett Jones,” Beach said.
View results for New Jersey State Open Golf Championship