First round co-leader Dan O’Rourke
HADDONFIELD, NJ (June 6, 2017) - A pair of college-age golfers Sam Goldenring of Brooklake and Dan O’Rourke of Oak Hill are the leaders after the first round of the 116th New Jersey State Golf Association Amateur Championship played at par-72, 6,823-yard Tavistock Country Club in Haddonfield.
Goldenring, 19, of Florham Park, and O’Rourke, 20, of Milford, each shot rounds of four-under-par 68 to hold a one-shot lead over Trevor Randolph of Arcola, Dawson Jones of Jumping Brook and Thomas Lee of Rockleigh. Chester Patterson of Fiddler’s Elbow is two shots back at 70.
Defending champion Thomas La Morte of Haworth shot an even-par 72 to be in contention.
The field of 90 returns for Wednesday’s second round. At the conclusion of 36 holes, the field will be cut to the low 40 and ties who return for 36 holes on Thursday.
Goldenring got to four-under thank to an eagle on the 542-yard, par-5 15th hole, when he holed out on a wedge shot from 104 yards.
He added two birdies in his bogey-free round.
“I felt I miss-hit the wedge on the eagle. It went five feet past the pin and rolled back in,” said Goldenring, who plays on the golf team at Williams College in Massachusetts. “I played the course for the first time yesterday and I loved it.
“It suits me. The fairways are not too narrow. I noticed the greens have a lot of false fronts and you’ve got to play the proper yardage,” said Goldenring, a graduate of Newark Academy.
He enjoyed a successful freshman year at Williams, helping the team win the New England Small College Athletic Conference which enabled the team to appear in the NCAA Division 3 national championship where he finished 30th among individuals in the midst of final exams.
“I’ve become more and more confident. I now can take it from the practice range to the golf course. This is my second time playing in the Amateur and things are a lot different now. Today, I felt like I had every shot in the bag.”
O’Rourke is on hiatus from college and caddied this winter at Trump National in Jupiter, Fla. He figures to caddie later in the summer at Trump National in Bedminster, but for now, is concentrating on his game.
“Since I came up from Florida, I’ve been trying to focus on playing in some major events, including the State Amateur, the Ike at the end of the month and qualifying for the State Open and the Met Open,” said O’Rourke, who went to Delaware Valley Regional High School.
“I feel my course management is the best it’s ever been, but the way I hit it today, I felt I left a lot of shots out there,” he said.
On Tuesday, O’Rourke carded four birdies and two bogeys.
“The way I played the par fives is bothering me. I was even on the four of them. To win the tournament, I need to improve on that.”
Last summer, O’Rourke qualified for the U.S. Amateur when he shot 72-66 and was medalist at Rockrimmon Country Club in Stamford, Conn.
“It was an awesome experience. I didn’t play as well as I would’ve liked at the U.S. Amateur, but it gave me a taste of what it is like to play in big events. If everything goes well this summer, I might turn professional at some point. But I need to have a great summer.”
Randolph, 43, has won three NJSGA Amateurs and in 2016 was NJSGA Player of the Year. He also won the Met Mid-Amateur and the Hochster Invitational last year.
Jones, 19, attends the University of Rhode Island and reached the semifinals of the Met Amateur last summer. He is a former Shore Conference champion from Howell High School.
Lee, 35, 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. He stayed away from golf for 11 years after college.
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