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Lewis adds New Jersey Senior title to his resume
Norm Lewis (NJSGA photo)
Norm Lewis (NJSGA photo)

In the span of three days, Norm Lewis of Morris County followed a club championship with an impressive victory in the 61st NJSGA Senior Amateur Championship presented by the NJM Insurance Group.

Lewis shot 2-under 140 to win the Senior Amateur by four strokes over Mark Kosko of Little Mill and Gerry Baldachino of Old York on Tuesday at the par-71, 6,176-yard Springdale Golf Club in Princeton. Joe Roeder of Little Mill was third at 145.

In the concurrent super senior championship for golfers 65 and older, John O’Malley of Due Process Stable shot 73-75-148 to edge Howard Press of Little Mill, who shot 74-76-150.

On Sunday, Lewis, a former club president at Morris County, won his first club championship, needing 37 holes. He chipped in from 10 feet off the green on the 36th hole to force the playoff.

On Monday, he returned home to Springdale, the place where the Princeton native learned to play the game, and shot two-under-par 69 to share the lead with two-time champion Jay Blumenfeld of Mountain Ridge.

“Coming into the final round, I wanted to stay aggressive and hit the greens. I know this course so well,” said Lewis, 57, who now resides in Madison. “I hit my driver well and put the ball in good spots. I navigated a good round here today.”

He got off to a shaky start with bogeys on the second and third holes, but a hot putter enabled him to play bogey-free golf the rest of the way. He saved par on holes five, six and seven by sinking putts in the 12-to-15-foot range.

“It was one of the greatest putting exhibitions I’ve seen,” Blumenfeld said. “His course knowledge really helped him and he played great on the back nine.”

On Monday, Lewis counted four birdies on the back nine, including three of his final four holes. On Tuesday, he birdied holes 10 and 12 and was in cruise control the rest of the way.

“I didn’t miss a green in two days on the back nine. I’ve just been playing so well this year,” said Lewis, who saw his handicap index drop six strokes to a 1.2 in 12 months. “I took some lessons from Morris County assistant pro Tim Kistner and now I’m more square to the ball instead of hitting it from the inside. And I’ve worked on my putting and conditioning.

“It’s great to come back here and win an NJSGA Championship on my old course. I’m playing the greatest golf I’ve ever played.”

O’Malley, 67, who lives in Mantoloking, played the course for the first time. He took the hole-by-hole descriptions off the club website and went from there.

“My scores would have been much better except for a triple bogey on Monday and a double on No. 16 today,” said O’Malley, a native of Old Bridge. “I really putted well. The greens were fast, but I got the speed down. It feels great to finally win my first NJSGA championship.”

ABOUT THE New Jersey Senior Amateur

36-hole stroke play event for amateurs age 55 and older. The Senior Championship is run concurrently with the Super-Senior Championship (a separate event played at a shorter yardage for golfers age 65 and older). Cut to the low 40 players after the first round.

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