ALPINE, NJ (June 7, 2016) -- The 115th New Jersey Amateur Championship at the 6,690-yard Montammy Golf Club in Alpine could turn out to be the most hotly contested in recent memory.
Five players shot one under par 69, another four came in at even par and four more were at 71. More than a quarter of the field of 99 shot 74 or better. Following Wednesday’s second round, the top 40 and ties return for Thursday’s 36-hole final.
The quintet atop the leaderboard at 69 included former NJSGA Amateur champion (2010) Brian Komline of Black Oak, 21-year-old Ryan Snouffer of Essex County, who won the New York City Amateur two weeks ago, 20-year-0ld Erick Alonso of Darlington, the Carter Cup champion in 2014, 16-year-old Chris Gotterup of Rumson, the Shore Conference and Monmouth County scholastic champion, and 49-year-old Nick Desai of Baltusrol, the defending NJSGA Pre-Senior champion.
At even par 70 were defending champion Max Greyserman of Crestmont, 52-year-old Bob Duenskie of Rolling Green, the low amateur at last week’s state Senior Open, 19-year-old Chris Yeom of Rolling Greens, a Seton Hall University rising sophomore, and Steve Zychowski, the reigning NJSGA Tournament of Champions victor.
Greyserman salvaged his round of even-par 70 with a 4-under-31 on the back nine. The Duke University rising senior was four-over par at the turn. .
He birdied the par-4 12th, then carded an eagle at the par-5 14thwhen his 5 iron shot from 210 yards ended seven feet from the pin. He added another birdie on the par 4 16thhole.
“I’m pretty excited about the course. It’s challenging, tougher than last year,” said Greyserman, who also won the 2014 NJSGA Open and was runner-up in the Open last year to Tyler Hall of Upper Montclair. “I could’ve shot a 29 on the back. I had a lip-out and two in the heart that were just short.
“I had one practice round here . Tomorrow, I want to take better lines off the tee and keep doing what I’m doing. Hopefully, I can carry over the good momentum I had on my back nine,” said Greyserman, 21.
Erick Alonso, 20, a rising junior at Loyola of Maryland, posted the best score in relation to par when he was five-under through 12 holes, but a triple bogey on his 14thhole, the par-3 146-yard fifth hole, marred his card.
On that hole, Alonso hit a gap wedge off the tee in the middle of a period of gusting winds, and that ball ended up in the pond in front of the green. His chip onto the green rolled off and into a gully.
He had bogeyed the par-4, 475-yard fourth hole – the toughest scoring hole of the day. Following the triple, he birdied the par-4 sixth hole but added a bogey on the par-3 eighth to end up a one-under 69.
“I would’ve loved to have been 5-under for the day, but that’s golf. I used to carry something like that home with me, but you’ve got to have a positive attitude. I like my position heading into tomorrow. I’m going to stick to my game plan and play aggressive to conservative targets,” said Alonso, a former scholastic star at Bergen Catholic.
Komline wasn’t feeling his best with congestion and even had a fever on Monday night.
“Today, the only thing I wanted to do was learn the golf course and play even par, 69 or 71 didn’t matter. I wanted to stay in the golf tournament. I didn’t have time for a practice round,’ said Komline, who is the only golfer to win all four NJSGA majors. “You’ve got to keep the ball below the hole. Controlling your spin on the green is very important.”
Snouffer , who just completed his career at Seton Hall University, carded three birdies and two bogeys. He was fifth at last year’s NJSGA Open and 11th at the 2015 NJSGA Amateur.
“I made all the par putts I needed to make. Winning the New York City Amateur showed me I could find a way to stay in contention all three rounds and then come through in the clutch. I’ve been seeing a sports psychologist, Nick Molinaro, and I’ve learned I walk at a careful pace, play at a comfortable tempo and have a good thought process,” Snouffer said.
Gotterup, who turns 17 on July 20, played in the U.S. Junior last summer. His 31 on his back nine, the first through ninth holes, got him his 69.
“I like this course. If you hit good shots you get rewarded. I adapted on my final nine and started dropping some putts. It’s a good field. I just want to come out and have fun tomorrow,” Gottersup stated.
Desai finished strong with three birdies on his final four holes, including the par-4 18thhole. He bogeyed the par-4 sixth and par-4 10th holes.
“On my front I burned the edges on seven of nine holes, and my first few holes on the back, I did the same thing. Then they finally started falling. My ball striking was very good and my putting was phenomenal. Everything looked like it had a chance,’ Desai said.
View results for New Jersey State Amateur Golf Championship