CLIFTON, N.J. — Tyler Hall, the new Director of Instruction at Upper Montclair Country Club and a native of Wayne, has returned home in a big way.
Just six months into his new job after 10 years on the mini-tour circuit, Hall, 33, annexed one of the biggest victories of his career by winning the 95th New Jersey State Golf Association Open Championship by seven shots on Thursday, July 16, at the Rockaway River Country Club in Denville.
Thanks to a late birdie run, Hall fired a 4-under-par 68 for a three day total of 68-69-68-205 to outdistance defending champion, amateur Max Greyserman of Crestmont (67-73-72-212) by seven shots and collect the winner’s check of $15,000 in the event sponsored by the Lincoln Motor Company.
Tied for third at 213 were pro Brett Jones of Due Process Stable (70-213) and Spring Lake amateur Mike Stamberger, whose seven-under 65 was the low round of the tournament. Greyserman was coming off back-to-back major championships of the 2014 State Open and 2015 State Amateur. The low 25 scorers (and ties) gained exemptions into the 2016 State Open at Galloping Hill Golf Course.
“This is validation to know the time and work I put into my game is paying off,” said Hall, who won the 2011 Met Open, his previous biggest win that allowed him to spend three more years in the mini-tour world. “I will never give up on my ability to compete at the highest levels.
“I will play in whatever event I can get into. Now, I’m a golfer, teacher and father.” Hall last played in the State Open in 2004.
Hall called 2015 the biggest year of his life, which includes his new job, a six-month-old baby daughter, and now his State Open championship. He had extra motivation in his daughter, Finley.
"I thought this was about winning for her. Also, I promised her a pony if I won."
According to Hall, this was the right moment in his life to forsake the mini-tour life and come back to his New Jersey roots.
“It got hard to chase it financially,” said Hall of his decision to return to his home state where his father, Larry, has served as a long-time head professional at both Forest Hill Field Club and the Packanack Golf Club.
“I’m here to stay. I’m always confident in my ability to compete and grind. I had a number in mind, if I got to 10-under for the week, then somebody would have to do something special to beat me,” said Hall, who posted victories on three different tours and played in one PGA event, the Buick Open, and missed the cut by one stroke.
Hall entered the final round with a two-stroke lead over Greyserman, and nearly lost it when he bogeyed the both the par-3 sixth and par-4 seventh to stand at six-under following Greyserman, who, playing one group ahead, had back-to-back birdies on at the par-4 fifth and sixth holes and stood at five-under.
But Hall birdied both par-4s, the eighth and ninth holes, to go eight-under at the turn. When Greyserman bogeyed the par-4 10th hole, Hall’s lead was back to two shots and it stood that way through 13 holes.
Hall was in-between clubs on the par-3, 182-yard 14th hole, when he noticed playing partner Ryan Snouffer of Panther Valley had success with an 8-iron. Hall’s 8-iron put him to four feet and began a barrage of four straight birdies that punctuated his victory.
“That was where I felt I could finally breathe. I felt that was my biggest shot of the championship,” Hall said.
He followed with a short putt for birdie on the par-five No. 15, and rolled in a pair of 15-footers for birdies on the par-4s Nos. 16 and 17 holes.
“Now, I have an amazing perspective as a new father. There’s not the same weight on my shoulders. At the end of the day, I’m still daddy,” he said.
Greyserman, 20, the Duke University rising junior, couldn’t match his opening round 67 that had given him the early lead.
“The last two days I played poorly. I didn’t do anything well. I didn’t make putts. I couldn’t capitalize on the good shots I made. I only hit four fairways today. I had my chances. I’m still the top amateur here, so I’ll take some positives out of this going forward,” said Greyserman, who later this summer will compete in both the Met Amateur and the U.S. Amateur.
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