Michael Brown (NJSGA photo)
Michael Brown is now a four-time New Jersey State Golf Association champion after claiming the 40th New Jersey Mid-Amateur Championship on June 8 at Deal Golf & Country Club. The 50-year-old defeated Troy Vannucci, 3&1 in the finale to hoist the Gigi Carnevale Trophy for the second time in his prosperous career.
“It's validation that the that I've done is worth something and I'm just excited about that,” Brown said immediately following his victory. “It gives me fuel in the tank to keep going.”
Brown took a 1-up lead halfway through the front nine in the championship match, but Vannucci stormed back, draining a clutch birdie putt on No. 8, a 191-yard par 3 to tie up the match. Vannucci proceeded to win No. 9 with another birdie to take a 1-up lead over Brown. However, Brown would chip in on No. 13, and birdie No. 14 to regain the lead. He extended his advantage on No. 16 with yet another birdie and closed out his match by sticking his approach shot on No. 17 within two feet of the hole.
“It was such an up-and-down round against Troy,” Brown recalled. “He’s so tough, and I know that in order to win this tournament, I was probably going to have to go through him, and that was the case in the finals. I was just lucky that he was on the other side of the bracket."
No stranger to Deal, Brown also won the 2022 Four-Ball Championship at the Shore-based club alongside Peter Barron. The 2020 New Jersey Mid-Amateur Champion is elated to be back in the winner's circle.
“I certainly learned a lot about the course when we were here for the Four-Ball,” said Brown. “It (Deal) really is a perfect course for me because it's not overly long, I'm hitting a lot of wedges, which is a strength of mine. I drive it well and I wedge it well and my irons otherwise are just average, so I didn't have as many middle irons, so it really was a perfect course for me.”
In the morning semifinal match, Brown took down Deal's own Anthony Campanile in 19 holes. After trailing Campanile by two holes, Brown won No. 8 and 9 and even the match up. He then took a 2-up lead through 13 holes but Campanile charged back on 16 and 18 to send the match to extra holes. Brown calmly drained a 6-foot birdie putt on No. 1 to close out the match and head into the final.
In the stroke play portion of the championship, Brown turned in a 1-over par 72. In the round of 16, Brown defeated Jason Bataille, 4&3. He drew Gregg Angelillo in the quarterfinals, winning 3&2.
For Vannucci, the 40th Mid-Amateur marks his second runner-up finish. In 2021, Vannucci was a finalist alongside Eric LeFante at Metedeconk National Golf Club. He earned his way into the match play portion this week via a playoff to claim the final spot.
Brown is also winner of the 2021 New Jersey Amateur Championship. He will be looking to get his name once again engraved on the Amateur trophy in July at Manasquan River Golf Club.
Story courtesy New Jersey Golf Association
View results for New Jersey Mid-Amateur
ABOUT THE New Jersey Mid-Amateur
Open to male amateurs age 30 or above who have
qualified from one of two qualifying sites or have
the exemption criteria. Format consists of 18 holes
stroke play followed by round of 16 match play.
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