DENVILLE, N.J. — Wayne, N.J.-native Tyler Hall, who spent 10 years playing on various mini tours, has found himself a home at the Upper Montclair Country Club where he was hired as Director of Instruction over the winter.
“I decided it was time to come home. I’ve always wanted to teach and looked around and was fortunate to get to Upper Montclair,” said Hall, who has found himself another sort of home at the Rockaway River Country Club in Denville where he fired a 3-under-par 69 to place him at the top of the leaderboard at 7-under 68-69-137 after the second round of the 54-hole New Jersey State Golf Association 95th State Open, sponsored by Lincoln Motor Company, on Wednesday, July 15.
The field was cut to the low 50 scorers (plus ties), who shot 149 or better, for Thursday’s final 18 holes.The low professional receives a check for $15,000 from a prize pool of $75,000.
Hall holds a two-stroke lead over Seton Hall University rising senior Ryan Snouffer of Panther Valley, who carded a 1-under 71 to go with his first-round 68 for a 139, followed by first-round leader and defending champion Max Greyserman of Crestmont (67-73-140). Greyserman is seeking to become the first amateur to win back-to-back and first player to win in consecutive years since Ed Whitman of Knickerbocker in 1995-96.
John McCarthy of Morris County is fourth at 69-72-141 followed by former PGA Tour professional Jim McGovern (74-68-142), who is seeking his first State Open title.
McGovern’s 4-under 68 was the low round of the morning, matched in the afternoon by Peter Chang of Black Oak. “The difference was my putting. I made a few today and yesterday, I didn’t make them at all,” said McGovern, 50. “I hit it solid again. Tyler Hall is playing good golf. I know he’s a good golfer. Who knows what will happen tomorrow. Golf’s a strange game.”
Hall, who won the state high school individual championship in 1999 out of Wayne Valley High School, is the son of long-time pro Larry Hall, who served at both Forest Hill Field Club and Packanack Golf Club. He followed Larry around when his dad played nearly every year in the NJPGA Charity Clambake at Rockaway River.
The last time Tyler played in the State Open was as an amateur in 2004.
On Wednesday, Hall birdied three of his final six holes, Nos. 4, 7 and 8, after he started on the back nine where he was even after two birdies and two bogeys.
“I’ve been playing really solid. It’s just a matter of getting the putts to fall. I definitely left a lot of birdies out there the last two days, but to be seven under and not really have it going, is a pretty good start,” said Hall, 33, whose first child, a daughter, was born six months ago.
Hall won events in three different mini-tours over the yesterday and played in one PGA tournament as a qualifier. He won the Met Open in 2011.
“It’s always good to be in this position. Like any event I compete in, I just give it my best and if I can be lucky enough, I’ll still be standing at the end with the low score. I take great pride in whatever challenge is thrown at me. I think I’ll be pretty tough to beat tomorrow,” Hall added.
Three weeks ago, Hall won the State Open qualifier at Galloping Hill Golf Course in Kenilworth by one shot.
“That put me in a better frame of mind. I know I believed I should be part of this field.”
Snouffer also had a late run to rise to near the top of the leaderboard when he birdied two of his final four holes, Nos. 15 and 17, to get to one-under–par for the day and five-under for the championship.
“I was able to come back late and that helped me, for sure,” said Snouffer, who two summers ago led the State Amateur heading into the final day but finished sixth. “I’m starting to learn what to do when I’m under pressure and that is paying off a lot for me.”
Greyserman, 20, a rising junior at Duke University who won the State Amateur in early June, carded four bogeys against three bogeys. His birdies came on Nos. 12, 16 and 18, but he bogeyed two of his final four holes, Nos. 6 and 7, to put him at one-over for the day.
“My putting felt different today than yesterday. I wasn’t able to get anything going. I didn’t feel I was reading putts well today,” Greyserman said.
A double bogey on the par-4 seventh hole was costly for McCarthy, but he rallied for birdies on Nos. 8 and 9, his final two holes of the day.
“One bad swing hurt me,” said McCarthy, 40, a native of Neptune, N.J."
View results for New Jersey State Open Golf Championship