Ryan Snouffer wins Trump Invitational in playoff
17 Aug 2015
by New Jersey State Golf Association

BEDMINSTER, N.J. — The Trump Invitational, benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of Newark and its affiliated LifeCamp and taking place over both the Old and New courses at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, is the newest invitational in which NJSGA amateurs can garner points for both State and Senior Player of the Year Awards.

The event, which started two years ago as an 18-hole fund-raising with top area amateurs matching up with amateur benefactors, was this year extended to a 36-hole NJSGA-sanctioned event.

On Monday, August 17, 30 top amateurs participated and were matched up with 23 threesomes of individuals who supported the fund-raiser. Ryan Snouffer of Panther Valley, a rising senior at Seton Hall, won in a one-hole playoff over Philly Open champion Brandon Matthews, a rising senior at Temple University . Snouffer, who shot 71-66-137, birdied the par-5 18th (playoff) hole with a two-putt from 12 feet.

According to Paul Scire, CEO of Boys and Girls Clubs of Newark, the event will raise $80,000 for the Boys and Girls Clubs and the same amount for the LifeCamp, which is located in nearby Pottersville.

“As this becomes more popular, I envision this having the golf course filled with 50-to-60 amateurs and corresponding threesomes of benefactors and we can hopefully raise twice as much money for our charities,” said Paul Sylvester of Somerset Hills, the co-chair of the event with Ed Walsh of Trump National.

Many of the top amateurs in New Jersey as well as several from neighboring states like Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania, took part in Monday’s event. The 30 amateurs played the New Course in the morning to establish a “pool” for the amateur benefactors to draw from.

Luke Graboyes of Twin Brooks, a former state high school champion who now golfs at Cornell, was first draft pick after shooting a 65. He was followed by Brian Komline of Black Oak, the only amateur to win all five NJSGA “major” championships, with a 66. Jason Bataille of Neshanic Valley, former Met Public Links champion, followed with a 67. Scores from both the morining and afternoon sessions would be combined to determine the champion.

“The response from the players has been phenomenal because of the golf course, because it is now sanctioned by the NJSGA and because of the charities,” said Sylvester, who has been a driving force behind the event, which is in its 30 years.

The Trump Invitational is the continuation of the annual fund-raiser for the Boys & Girls Clubs that was held at Somerset Hills Country Club beginning 29 years ago. Up until 2012, that event included many of the biggest names on the PGA Tour participating each year, including Arnold Palmer, Payne Stewart, Ben Crenshaw, Vijay Singh, Fuzzy Zoeller and Dustin Johnson. Over the three decades, the event has raised more than $5 million to benefit the two charities.

Sylvester relayed a story how Mark Calcavecchia arrived at Somerset Hills without luggage or golf clubs. He borrowed what as necessary, then shot a course record. A month later, he won the 1989 British Open with the same putter he had borrowed from his caddie at Somerset Hills.

Another story he told was the Monday that Paul Azinger came to Somerset Hills, just hours after he had holed out from a bunker on the 18th hole to defeat his buddy, Payne Stewart, in the 1993 Memorial Championship. Sylvester asked to see the wedge that Azinger had used and he was already on the range with the same club in his hand.

According to Sylvester, the event was moved to Trump-Bedminster because of the availability of the 36-hole layout in conjunction with the event in coming years.

“We have a great foundation of a real model of what the amateurs like and what the benefactors like. They’re excited that they may be playing with a young amateur who may one day be playing on TV as a professional. This model fits better at Trump National,” he stated.

“Guys want to come here and be treated well, and they’re helping kids,” Walsh said. “We think having it sanctioned by the NJSGA and next year by the MGA and both supporting this event will attract more top amateurs in coming years.

“We are excited about the new format,” said Walsh, who played a vital role in having the revamped event come to Bedminster. “The logistics of getting the PGA Tour pros became increasingly difficult. We think the later date works. The only thing is we lost seven or eight metropolitan –area players this year because it coincided with the U.S. Amateur.”

“We hoping to be able to grow the event,” said Paul Scire, chief executive officer of Newark Boys & Girls Clubs. “We’re confident this can take root and grow significantly over the years and drive a lot of charitable contributors to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Newark and the LifeCamp. The LifeCamp provides an opportunity for hundreds of city kids to enjoy the outdoors, many who have never experienced the outside world.”

The LifeCamp hosts up to 300 inner-city campers per week for six weeks. Some campers stay the entire time, and cost for the kids is negligible.

“There are summer enrichment programs for both the Boys and Girls Clubs and LifeCamp participants. We offer a lot of scholarships for kids. That’s shy this event is so important,” Scire said.

“This is a fund-raiser for Newark’s kids. Without this type of support, we can’t continue. This is the best of both worlds: You have a wonderful round of golf at a first-class venue and at the same time, you’re helping those kids who need the support the most, and everybody feels great.”

The field included NJSGA Senior Amateur Champion Billy Charpek of Navesink, Public Links champion Peter Kozubal of Fox Hollow, Philadelphia Open champion Brandon Matthews of Emanon, former NJSGA Amateur Champion (2009) Mike Deo of Black Oak, Pre-Senior champion Nick Desai of Baltusrol, 2014 Met Mid-Am champion Niall Handley of Essex,Fells, 2013 Amateur runner-up Jimmy Dengler of Rumson, five-time Senior Amateur champion Allan Small of Fairmount, and Met-Amateur runner-up Ryan Snouffer of Panther Valley.

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