New Jersey Amateur: McCormick leads by two
photo: NJSGA
photo: NJSGA

SPRINGFIELD, NJ (June 6, 2012) -- Ryan McCormick, 20, of Suburban, a Middletown resident, overcame a double-bogey four putt with an eagle three holes later to shoot under par for the second straight day and take a two-stroke lead at the 111th NJSGA Amateur Championship on Wednesday at the Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield.

McCormick’s 1-under-par-71 on Baltusrol’s Lower Course came on the heels of his 4-under-par 68 at the Lower Course on Tuesday, giving him a two-day 68-71-139 and a two-shot lead over 18-year-old Brandon Dalinka of The Ridge at Back Brook, (67-74-141), the first-round leader.

On Thursday, the low 48 players at 152 or better, will play 36 holes, first on the Upper Course, then the Lower Course, to determine the winner of the E.M. Wild Championship Trophy.

Anthony Aloi, 22, of Mercer Oaks, (West Windsor resident) the reigning NJSGA Public Links champion, was even par in the morning and remained at 2-under for the tournament (70-72-142), alone in third place.

Brian Komline of Black Oak, (Bridgewater) the recent NJSGA Mid-Amateur champion shot 72-71-143 while Peter Kim of Royce Brook, a Metuchen resident and the reigning state scholastic champion, shot 70-73-143 to tie for fourth place.

McCormick’s eventful round included the eagle, the double bogey, third birdies and two bogeys. The double came on the par-3 fourth hole when he four-putted downhill from 40 feet. That put him at 1-over-par for the day.

He salvaged the round with his eagle-three at the par-5 seventh hole when he nailed a 7-iron from 176 yards to five feet.

“The best thing I did today was rely on my short game. It’s a credit to all the work I put into it,” said McCormick, who learned this morning he would accompany his father, Mark McCormick, the head pro at Suburban, to next week’s U.S. Open in San Francisco where he will be inside the ropes as his dad’s designated player instructor.

He also learned his father wlll play a practice round there with Phil Mickelson, who won the 2005 PGA Championship at Baltusrol.

“Tomorrow (Thursday), I will just go after fairways and greens. I’m used to playing 36 holes,” said McCormick, who did just that in failing to qualify for The Open on Monday at Canoe Brook. “I feel a little sore, a little beat up, but, hey, I’m 20. It´s good to have fresh legs.”

Dalinka survived a shaky start, and came on late to birdie his final two holes to shoot a 2-over-par 74.

“I didn’t have my game today. I was struggling with my driver,” said Dalinka, who bogeyed the par-4 second hole, and doubled the signature par-3 fourth hole when his tee shot found the water. He also bogeyed the par-4 14th hole before rallying with pars on the twin par-5 finishing holes.

“After the start, I tried not to think about my score, just play as well as I can,” said Dalinka, whose only tournament victory was his first AJGA Rhode Island Classic at age 15.

“I had a lot of up-and-downs that kept me in it. There’s 36 more holes to play. I’ll have to hit it better.”Aloi, 22, a fifth-year senior-to-be at Furman University, carded three birdies and three bogeys. He birdied two of his final three holes to remain in contention.

Starting on the 10th tee, he bogeyed the par-3 16th hole, then birdied 18. He bogeyed the par-4 second and par-4 third holes before the birdies at the par-5 seventh and par-3 ninth.

“The Lower Course is fine as long as you know where the bunkers are. The greens are very tricky with a lot of subtlety,” Aloi said. “You’ve got to be patient. With 36 holes to go here, anything can happen.”

ABOUT THE New Jersey State Amateur

Open to male amateurs who have qualified through one of three qualifying sites or have met the exemption criteria. Format is 72 holes of stroke play with a cut to the low 40 scores after the second round.

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