CHATHAM, N.J. — In 2010, Billy Charpek of Navesink won his only NJSGA tournament, the Pre-Senior championship in the only time he played it.
Fast forward five years, and Charpek, 58, has added another title to his resume, annexing the 57th New Jersey Senior Amateur Championship after placing third the previous year.
Charpek fired a round of 1-over-par 73 to go along with his opening-round 77 for a 150 total, two shots better than a trio of runners-up on Tuesday, August 4, at the 6,432-yard Fairmount Country Club in Chatham.
Tied for second at 152 were defending champion and first-day leader Jay Blumenfeld of Mountain Ridge (73-79-152), Anthony Fioretti of Ballyowen (76-76-152) and Tom Hassel of Manasquan River (75-77-152).
In the concurrent Fifth Super-Senior Championship for golfers 65 and above, Jim Byer of Springdale took the title by shooting 75-81-156, two strokes better than Kevin Clarke of Quail Brook (79-79-158) and three shots better than Scott Michels of Hackensack (81-78-159).
“I’m very surprised that my 73 was good enough to win. I thought I’d have to shoot at least two-under today, based on the scores on Monday,” said Charpek, a three-time State Amateur runner-up. His victory on Tuesday exempted him into the 2016 State Open, State Amateur and State Mid-Amateur.
“I only made two birdies. The greens were nice, but the winds were tough and blowing. It affected more shots on the back than the front. I was trying to birdie every hole coming in. On 18, I hit a driver off the tee. I thought I needed a birdie for sure and I nearly chipped in,” said Charpek, a 10-time club champion at Navesink. He is also a member at esteemed Merion outside Philadelphia.
Charpek grew up in Middletown and attended Red Bank Catholic. He then matriculated to the University of North Carolina and made the golf team as a walk-on, winning one college tournament.
“I have played in a number of State Opens and State Amateurs, and this year will play in the Mid-Amateur (Sept. 8-10 at Arcola in Paramus). I’ve played in the U.S. Amateur three times in the 1980s and the U.S. Mid-Am twice, including the first one in 1981. I’ll be playing in the U.S. Mid-Am qualifier right here at Fairmount (Sept. 2).”
Charpek’s birdies came on the par-4 sixth hole and the par-5 No. 11. He bogeyed the par-3 No. 17 when his tee shot went over the green and he two-putted. He also carded a double-bogey on the par-3 seventh hole when his tee shot found a bunker and he sculled his next shot over the green.
“It’s nice to win this. When I won the Pre-Senior, it was against the same group of guys. I’ve been playing against these guys for 30 years or longer. I see a lot of familiar faces here,” said Charpek, a real estate developer who lives in Holmdel.
Byer, 71, won the Super Senior in 2011, the first year of the event. Byer, who has been retired six years from his job as headmaster at Hun School, shot nearly identical to what he shot a year ago when he finished third behind Jay Green of Alpine and Ned Steiner of Mountain Ridge. On Tuesday, he was paired with Green.
“I struggled, I had six bogeys on my front side and three bogeys on the back,” said Byer. “It wasn’t the course’s fault. It was mine. It was a repeat of last year, and I was playing with Jay who won last year.”
Byer this summer won the club championship at Springdale for an eighth time. Ironically, he failed to defend the Senior Club Championship at Springdale, which he had won 13 consecutive years. In the past year, Byer has shot under his age four times, including a 68.
He is the senior club champion at Bears Lakes in Florida and is also the Palm Beach County Super Senior champion.
Byer, a native of Trenton, attended Marietta College in Ohio and led it to the NCAA Division 3 rowing championship in 1966.
“I never know which guy is going to wake up, someone who plays well or someone whose timing is off. I’m very fortunate to win this,” he stated.
View results for New Jersey Senior Amateur Golf Championship