Jack Wall (New Jersey Golf Association photo)
For the second-straight year, the New Jersey Amateur Championship presented by Provident Bank went in to a playoff. Jack Wall bested Jack Simon in a three-hole aggregate playoff to hoist the Edwin M. Wild Trophy at his home club, Manasquan River Golf Club on Wednesday, July 12.
“This is so special,” Wall reflected following his victory. “Just excited. My head is scrambled right now, but just over the moon, it’s just so special.”
For Wall, who started the fourth and final round four strokes behind the leader, Simon, a 2-under par 70 in the final round helped him gradually climb up the leaderboard. Remaining patient, Wall birdied the final hole, knowing he’d need to make something big happen with Simon not far behind.
“I did peek at the leaderboard on 16 and saw everybody was kind of struggling, and rightfully so. It was really hard out here with 20 mile-per-hour winds and fast greens,” said Wall. “I just kept my head down and tried to hit good shots and then 18 to birdie that one to get in the clubhouse. Having a couple of stressful minutes there was not ideal.”
Simon’s final round was tumultuous. After owning a four-stroke lead heading into the 18-hole finale, he went into No. 16 trailing Wall by one stroke. Sticking his approach shot within eight feet, Simon drained his birdie putt to tie it with Wall, who finished two groups ahead.
The pair went to a three-hole aggregate playoff, which consisted of holes 16, 17 and 18. On the first hole, Wall and Simon hit toward the gravel cart path. Both layed up, but while Wall snuck one in close on his third shot, Simon left his par attempt to a 30-plus foot putt. Wall knocked his par putt in, while Simon two-putted for a double-bogey.
On the second hole of the playoff, Wall ripped his tee shot down the fairway, while Simon found himself in trouble again off the tee, forcing Simon to punch out. Wall walked off No. 17 with a par, while Simon carded a triple bogey.
Headed to the final hole of the playoff with a five-stroke lead, Wall proceeded to drive the green on the 349-yard par 4, 18th. A birdie putt would solidify Wall’s victory in front of the hometown crowd in dramatic fashion.
For Wall, the incoming graduate student at Texas Tech University, the victory was extra special. He did it in front of nearly 200 spectators, primarily Manasquan River members, including family and friends.
“It was a little extra motivation,” Wall said of the crowd. “The membership and everybody who came out, they're so supportive and the area is so supportive, I'm just so thankful to be a member at such an awesome club and to have it here is awesome. I definitely felt another little added benefit there, which was nice.”
Wall carded rounds of 72-71-72-70 en route to the title.
Simon, who recently won the 2023 Big East Individual Championship for St. John’s University led the championship heading into Wednesday. There were nine players at even par or better and within just four strokes of the leader to start the 36-hole finale.
Finishing behind Simon, Jeremy Wall, older brother of Jack compiled three-straight rounds of 71 to earn a third-place finish.
ABOUT THE New Jersey State Amateur
Open to male amateurs who have qualified through
one of three qualifying sites or have met the
exemption criteria. Format is 72 holes of stroke play
with a cut to the low 40 scores after the second
View Complete Tournament Information