Medalist Peter Barron is among the semifinalist
COLTS NECK, NJ (May 10, 2017) - Matt Mattare of Darlington, playing in his first NJSGA Mid-Amateur, had a day to remember , first defeating 2008 champion Mike Stamberger of Spring Lake, 22 holes, then ousting Greg Goodman of Plainfield in the quarterfinals, 7 and 6, at the 34th Mid-Amateur Championship on Wednesday, May 10, at par-72, 6,851-yard Trump National Golf Club in Colts Neck.
In Thursday morning’s semifinals, Mattare will meet Mike Moore of fiddler’s Elbow, while Michael Brown of Pennsauken takes on medalist and two-time runner-up Peter Barron of Stone Harbor who topped Thomas Lee of Rockleigh, 2 and 1. Moore edged three-time champion Tom Gramigna of GTavostick, 19 holes, while Brown beat Chris Housen of Manasquan River, 3 and 1.
Mattare ended his match against Stamberger with an eagle on the fourth extra hole, the par-4 fourth hole, which played at 287 yards. Mattare ended 25 feet short and right of the cup and putted from just off the green for the victory. In the afternoon, Mattare continued his hot streak, carding six birdies in the 12 holes played against Goodman.
“In the afternoon, I got to stay in the same state of mind. There was no big break in between the matches,” Mattare said. “Out here, you really have to be able to handle the wind. You have to keep it in the fairway and make the putts when they matter.”
Mattare graduated the University of Notre Dame, but played no college golf.
“It’s the beginning of the year and you want to get off to great start. It would be great if I could win the first New Jersey tournament I’ve ever played in.”
Getting past Stamberger, a two-time NJSG Amateur champion, in the Round of 16 likely provided momentum for the Jersey City resident.
“The morning was a great match. I played with Mike (Stamberger) on Tuesday (stroke-play qualifying) and we had a great time. Mike’s reputation precedes him. He’s one of the best players in New Jersey. Against him, I didn’t want to be the one to blink,” said Mattare, the defending Golf Association of Philadelphia Mid-Amateur champion.
Mattare, 31, who works in New York, has played in four U.S. Mid-Amateurs. His top finish was the quarterfinals in 2012. He also reached the Round of 16 in 2014 and was a medalist in Birmingham in 2013. He grew up in Bethlehem, Pa., near Saucon Valley C.C., where his father, Gene, is the director of golf.
Brown, 44, of Pennsauken, won the GAP Mid-Am in 2009. He advanced to the semifinals for the first time on Wednesday.
“When I lost a hole, I was able to bounce back. From holes 10 through 14, I had a nice run, including a birdie on the par-3 No. 13. I’ve never won a state title, so that would be a nice thing for me,” Brown said.
Barron ousted Lee on the strength of five birdies in 17 holes, including No. 17 where he drained a 40-foot putt to close out the match.
“I finally figured out my putting on No. 13. The path of my putter was causing the ball to skid so I moved the ball a little further away. I made a bunch of putts coming in,” said Barron, who was runner-up to Arcola’s Trevor Randolph in 2014.
“I’ve been there before. Tomorrow, it’s back to basics, fairways and greens. Hopefully, I can keep putting this way.”
Moore, 47, of Hillsborough, lived in Jupiter, Fla., for 10 years while he played on the Golden Bear Tour in the 1990s. His last competitive golf came in the U.S. Open Local qualifier at Canoe Brook in 2001.
“I never imagined I’d make it to the final four of this tournament,” said Moore, who shot 78 and made it on the number at the qualifier at Mercer Oaks. “I’ve always been a scrambling golfer. I get it round. When I have the opportunities I take advantage of them,” a realtor in Somerville.
In the Round of 16 matches, Lee defeated Paul Erber of Ash Brook, 5 and 3; Housen topped Brian Whitman of Knickerbocker, 3 and 1; Brown stopped Gregg Angelillo of Baltusorl, 4 and 3; Goodman ousted Kevin Campana of Ash Brook, 20 holes; three-time champion Gramigna beat Jim Craffey of Arcola, 1 up ,and Moore bested Rob Kilbride of Hominy Hill, 1 up.
Lee, 35, of Alpine, was playing in his first Mid-Amateur. Lee graduated IMG Academy in Florida and then played golf at both East Tennessee State and Virginia. He helped ETSU to the NCAA Regionals both years there.
Lee was No. 1 in the nation in AJGA rankings at age 14. He qualified for the U.S. Mid-Amateur in 2016, but failed to advance to match play.
After college, he stayed away from golf for 11 years. “I’ve been driving it pretty well, which allows scoring opportunities. I’m also putting it well, which is key out here.”
Brown made seven birdies in his first 15 holes to get past Angelillo. “I’m leaning on my putter. I made several 20 to 30 footers out there,” said Brown, who reached the quarterfinals last year at Spring Lake. “
Barron, 41, the medalist in stroke play who added an ace on Tuesday said: “I didn’t hit it very well. I’m pulling it.” He still managed a 4-up lead over Markham through 14 holes.
Gramigna, a three-time champion, has had both hips replaced. “My body is still not right. Playing 36 holes is difficult for me.”
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