WAYNE, NJ (July 31, 2012) -- Allan Small of Fairmount, three-time and defending champion, stared down a 12-foot putt he needed for victory at the 18th hole, then followed it into the hole as he won the NJSGA 54th Senior Amateur Championship in exciting fashion on Tuesday at the North Jersey Country Club in Wayne.
It provided a fourth Senior Amateur title for Small (1-over-par 72-143), 60, a Florham Park resident, by one shot over the same runners-up as last year, Ron Vannelli of Metuchen (72-144) and Jerry Horton of Forsgate (73-144) at North Jersey, which played at 6,465 yards.
Jay Blumenfeld of Mountain Ridge was fourth at 73-146 and Robert Britton of Knob Hill fifth at 70-147. Britton’s 70 was the low round of the two-day tournament.
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Jim Noe of Manasquan River, 69, won the 2nd Super Senior Amateur (age 65 and above) with a 79-152, besting Vic Gerard of Eagle Oaks (79-155) and Denis Johnson of Plainfield West Nine (79-156). Johnson earned the fourth ace of his career at the par-3, 156-yard 13th hole, using a seven-iron. The Super Seniors played over 6,228 yards.
“It ‘s nice to stand over a putt and know you’re putting for a win,” said Small, who last year won by seven shots over Vannelli and Horton. “I wanted the right edge and that’s where I hit it. It was trickling, trickling and trickling until the last little bit, and then it fell in.”
Small has also won the Senior Amateur in 2008, ’09 and ’11. The victory earned him an exemption for next year’s NJSGA Mid-Amateur championship.
Small was the first player to win the NJSGA Amateur, Mid-Amateur and Senior Amateur when he won the Senior Amateur in 2008 at Crestmont.
The putt on 18 was for a par save on the 379-yard hole as he hit his drive under trees to the right and was forced to hit a low shot out to 67 yards.
“I was in a par mode all day, because that’s a good score out here,” Small added. “I’ve been putting good all year.”
His round Tuesday included three bogeys and two birdies. He bogeyed the par-4 16th hole, but rebounded with a par-save on the par-5 17th hole, again after a bad drive.
“I turned 60 in September and it’s been a great year for me. My 50s were good, winning as much as I did. But who knows what’s going to happen at 60,” said Small, who this spring was third at the Met Senior Amateur.
“This course was not easy for me with all the uphill and sidehill lies. It’s special for me to get this victory,” Small said.
On August 12, Small and his wife Patti, who doubles as his faithful caddie, celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. They were high school sweethearts at Livingston High, have three children and four grandchildren.
“Each of our grandchildren was born in a year when Allan won a major,” Patti Small said. “Allan loves the game so much and he’s so competitive. It’s good for his soul to know he’s still playing well.”
Noe is a commercial contractor who lives in Brielle. When he won the Manasquan River club championship in 2009, he was the oldest ever at 66.
“I’ve only been playing golf 20 years, so winning this, to me, is a major accomplishment,” Noe said. “I played very solid Monday (73), but it seemed my putter left me overnight. I wasn’t getting up and down today.
“This is exciting for me. It kept me up all night, just waiting for today.”
View results for New Jersey Senior Amateur Golf Championship