2015 N.J. Pub Links winner Peter Kozubal (NJSGA photo)
FARMINGDALE, N.J. — Peter Kozubal of Fox Hollow has won his share of club championships along the way – nine at his home club including 2014 and five more at Shawnee On Delaware – but never was able to have his name etched on a trophy in an NJSGA-sponsored event.
That all changed on Thursday July 23, when Kozubal shot a five-under-par 69-70-139 to win the 11thNJSGA Men’s Public Links Championship by four strokes on a sun-splashed day at the par-72, 6,845-yard Howell Park Golf Course in Farmingdale.
Kozubal, 45, outpaced former two-time NJSGA Junior champion Jason Bataille of Neshanic Valley (68-75-143) and former Philly Open champion Mike Brown of Centerton (74-70-144). Dominic Diaz of Neshanic Valley, who plays college golf at St. Peter’s, was fourth at 72-73-145. All earned exemptions into the 2016 State Amateur.
“This is my first one. I’ve been doing this for a while and I like doing it. It keeps me in competition,” said Kozubal, a CPA who lives in Bridgewater. “Hopefully this translates into me doing better in the State Mid-Amateur.”
Kozubal last week finished 29thin the State Open but was poised to gain an exemption for a Top 25 player when he was in 16th place after the first two rounds. This was the first year that Kozubal qualified for both the State Amateur and State Open.
On Thursday, Kozubal saw Howell Park for the first time and was enamored with the greens.
“I felt real comfortable on the greens. They were not as fast and firm as at the State Open. I knew I had to just go out and hit fairways and greens. I got up and down when I had to. Golf is not the be-all end-all for me. I have six-year-old twin sons (Rhys and Rhyan) now.”
Kozubal shot one-under on the first nine of his final 18 to pull even with Bataille with nine holes remaining. He bogeyed the par-414th hole and started to worry, but rallied with back-to-back birdies on the par-5 No. 15 and par-4 No. 16.
On No. 15, he hit a chip to three feet and on No. 16, his wedge from 120 yards ended 12 feet from the hole.
“I told my caddie, Eddie Olsen, that I liked my chances coming in,” said Kozubal, who parred the final two holes.
Kozubal grew up in Mountainside and attended Springfield High School, where he played varsity basketball and baseball. His next stop was a spot on the Moravian College basketball team, but a knee injury forced him out of basketball and into golf.
“My dad, Jack,” got me started in golf. There were times at Shawnee when we were playing against each other for the club championship. My father didn’t like that,” he said.
Bataille, 32, also lives in Bridgewater. He played on the Rutgers golf team and served two years as head coach. He works in the insurance business. In May, he was a member of the NJSGA Compher Cup team that tied Philadelphia at Bayonne Golf Club.
Brown, 42, owns a soft pretzel business in Cherry Hill. A resident of Maple Shade, he has won the Philly Open (2010) and Philly Mid-Am (2009).
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ABOUT THE New Jersey Public Links
The Championship will be 36-Holes, Stroke-Play. The
Champion will be the player with the lowest 36 hole
score. The starting field will consist of 40 players,
plus ties, from the three qualifying sites and
those exempt from qualifying. Entrant must be a
permanent resident of New Jersey and must NOT
hold playing privileges, incidental or otherwise, at
any facility which is not
open to the general public.
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