SPRING LAKE, NJ (May 11, 2016) - Mike Stamberger of Spring Lake ran into some bad luck, but it was good luck that got him through to the semifinals of the NJSGA 33rdMid-Amateur Championship at Spring Lake Golf Club on Wednesday afternoon, May 11.
Stamberger, who earned the No. 1 seed after shooting a 4-under-par 68 in the stroke-play portion, was on the brink of elimination on the 18th hole, but survived to win with a par on the 19th hole, the par-4 No. 1, to defeat Peter Barron of Stone Harbor.
Stamberger, the 2008 champion, advances to face Brian Komline of Black Oak, the 2012 champion, at 7:30. Komline ousted Michael Brown of Pennsauken, 4 and 2.
In the other semifinal, at 7:38 a.m., 2007 champion Mike Deo of Black Oak, who defeated Tom Gramigna of Tavistock, 3 and 2, squares off against Trevor Randolph of Arcola, 20013 and ’14 champion, who bested Nick Desai of Baltusrol, 6 and 5.
These four former champions have a history of playing each other in championship matches. Randolph beat Deo in the 2013 final; Komline topped Stamberger in the 2012 final, Stamberger defeated Deo in the 2008 final, and Deo edged Komline in the 2007 final.
Stamberger’s bad luck came on the ninth hole. Holding a 1-up lead, he faced an embedded ball on the fringe of the green. Allowed a drop, Stamberger, however, violated Rule 13-2 “eliminating irregularities of surface” prior to dropping the ball, which calls for loss of hole in match play.
But he regained his composure and won hole No. 12, a par five, with a birdie, and No. 15, a par four, with a par to go 2-up.
However, he lost holes 16 and 17 with bogeys to enable Barron to draw even. On the par-four 418-yard 18th hole, Stamberger found the deep bunker on the left of the green while Barron sat 18 feet left of the pin. Stamberger blasted to within 15 feet and two-putted for bogey, while Barron failed to convert, three-putting for his bogey.
On the 19th hole, the 409-yard No. 1 hole, Stamberger reached in regulation while Barron’s second shot found the bunker to the left of the green. Stamberger settled for a par from 15 feet. After clearing the bunker, Barron’s attempt at par from 10 feet lipped out, allowing Stamberger to move on.
“Pete played better than me, especially down the stretch. I needed to get a little luck back but I had a little bad luck, too. I guess it evens out,” Stamberger said.
Randolph counted six birdies in his quarterfinal victory over Desai.
“I’m starting to understand the course better. I lost to Nick in the quarterfinals last year on my home course. I had that on my mind,” Randolph said.
Deo is in the semifinals for the third time in his career.
“This course suits my game,” said Deo, who was four-under-par in the quarterfinals. “I’m rolling my putts well.“
Komline won four of the final six holes to advance past Brown.
“You’ve got to play position golf here. I had six birdies this morning. I’m hitting my irons well and putting well,” said Komline, who has also won the State Amateur, State Open, Public Links and Four-Ball Championships (with Niall Handley).
ROUND OF 16 RECAP
Mike Stamberger of Spring Lake, who earned the No. 1 seed in the 33rdNJSGA Mid-Amateur Championship thanks to a 4-under-par 68 in stroke play, advanced to the Wednesday afternoon quarterfinals with a 1-up victory over Mike O’Connell of Arcola at Spring Lake.
Stamberger advanced to the quarterfinals against Peter Barron III of Stone Harbor, on the strength of an eagle bunker shot on the par-5 13th hole. Stamberger was facing a 25-foot shot out of a right greenside bunker when his shot bounced twice on the green into the cup.
No. 8 seed Barron defeated Brian Whitman of Metedeconk National, 2 and 1. Five of the eight who advanced to the quarterfinals are former champions including Stamberger (2008), Tom Gramigna of Tavistock (2002, ‘03), Mike Deo of Black Oak (2007), Brian Komline of Black Oak (2012) and Trevor Randolph of Arcola (2013, ’14). Others to advance were Barron, Nick Desai of Baltusrol,and Michael Brown of Pennsauken.
The eagle victory gave Stamberger a 1-up lead which he extended to 2-up with a par victory on No. 16. After losing No. 17 with a bogey, he closed out the victory with a par on No. 18.
“The eagle was the turning point of the match. Mike (O’Connell) went birdie-birdie on the first two holes to put me down. I’m just not putting well. I don’t have a routine. I’m fidgeting around. I’m just not comfortable,” said Stamberger, who won the event in 2008 and won NJSGA Amateur championships in 2013 and 2014.
Stamberger was forced to relinquish his favored belly putter at the end of last season due to a ruling by the USGA and the R&A banning such putters. He has since switched to a Scott Cameron Futura X with a thick handle.
Nonetheless, Stamberger carded four birdies vs. O’Connell after claiming six in Tuesday’s stroke-play portion of the Mid-Amateur. Stamberger said his accuracy with his iron helped him avoid longer putts on Tuesday.
Komline defeated Jason Bataille of Metedeconk National, 3 and 2, to advance to play against Michael Brown of Pennsauken, a 3 and 1 victor over Jack Skirkanich of Rumson.
View results for New Jersey Mid-Amateur Golf Championship