WEST ORANGE, NJ (June 10, 2010)--Two-time New Jersey Open champion Brian Komline finally won his first state amateur title, and he had to work long and hard to get it.
The 36-year-old Komline rolled in a 5-foot par putt on his 39th hole of the day and won a three-hole aggregate playoff by one shot over teenager Pat Wilson at the Montclair Golf Club on Thursday.
“I had to earn it,” said Komline, a Bridgewater resident. “It was almost like God’s way of saying, You missed that short little putt and now you are going to go a couple of extra to get what you want.”
Wilson, who will be a sophomore at Susquehanna University next year, nearly stole the title from Komline. He matched the tournament record with a 5-under 65 in the morning round and then rallied from three shots down with three holes to play in the afternoon 18 to force the playoff.
After Komline bogeyed the 16th hole, the 19-year-old Wilson birdied the final two holes, slamming in a 10-footer on the 18th after Komline missed one from about 12 feet.
The playoff was a rollercoaster.
Komline took a one-stroke lead with a tap-in birdie on the par-5 10th. Wilson took the lead on the second hole (No. 17) with a 12-foot birdie, while Komline three-putted from the front of the green, missing a 4-footer for par.
Wilson’s chances of winning outright ended after his drive into the left rough on No. 18. His second shot was 30 yards short of the green. His chip went to the back fringe about 20 feet away from the hole, and his par attempt was rammed 8 feet past. He then missed his bogey putt.
“It was there (for the taking),” said Wilson, of Andover. “I wasn’t even thinking of losing it there. It never crossed my mind. It happens. It all happens so fast.”
Komline eyed his putt and then sank it, clenching his fist in victory. He is the fifth player in the state to win the Open and the Amateur.
“This is huge,” said Komline, who won the state Open title in 2005 and ‘06. “Again, I have been trying for many years and never been in contention. I have had top 10s but never came down to the wire leading, so to actually come through and get it done is something I will always remember.”
Komline, who had closing rounds of 72 and 73 in the 36-hole wrap-up round, and Wilson (65-73) finished the 72-hole tournament at 4-over 284.
“I never tried to think I blew it,” Komline said of losing both the three-shot lead at the end of the fourth round and his early lead in the playoff. “Once you start thinking you blew it, you’re down. The mental side of this game, you just have to be strong and forget about what you did.”
Two-time state Amateur champion Bill McGuinness and current state Mid-Amateur champion David Pierce (71-74) finished two shots behind the leaders.
McGuinness, a 50-year-old funeral director, shared the 36-hole lead with Komline, but his chances slipped away with a third-round 75. He had a final-round 72.
Pierce (71-74) was within a shot of the lead before bogeying the 72nd hole.
Defending champion Mike Deo and eight-time Montclair club champion Mark McGowan finished tied for fifth at 288. Deo had closing rounds of 70 and 71.
View results for New Jersey State Amateur Golf Championship