With a gallery of their fellow Shore Conference Tournament competitors looking on, CBA junior Jerry Wall and Rumson-Fair Haven senior John Edler looked over 20-foot putts, a light rain falling as the second playoff hole progressed at Eagle Ridge Golf Club.
Putting first on the sixth green, Wall stepped up and drained his birdie attempt, securing the individual title when Edler’s putt came up just short.
Led by Wall’s 73, the Colts captured the team title with a four-man total of 310 on the 6,223-yard, par-72 test. Rumson, which upset CBA a week earlier at the Monmouth County Tournament at Hominy Hill in Colts Neck, was second at 332, with Wall placing third at 344.
Rounding out the scoring for CBA were defending champion Vince Palazzolo, who posted a 78, Patrick Hussey, who finished at 79, and Ethan Wall at 80.
“It’s a nice positive, a little ego boost heading into the states. Hopefully we’re ready,” said CBA coach Tim Sewnig, whose team begins the quest for a second NJSIAA team championship in three years at the South-Central Non-Public A tournament on May 13.
“The hard part about heading into the states is that we’ve got a lot of open dates between now and then, so maybe some practice days or call around and see who wants to play. I just hope we’re not rusty when we get there.”
Edler, who captured the Monmouth County Tournament for the second time in three years last week, was at 1-under-par holding a two-shot lead before bogeys on the final two holes opened the door for Wall.
Finally, after both players found the green on the second playoff hole, it was Wall who emerged with the victory.
“It actually wasn’t that hard to read, it was a little right to left, which I saw,” said Wall of the winning putt. “And then it was all about speed and hoping it didn’t bump off line when it was rolling. But I ended up hitting it right edge, pretty straight forward putt and it had perfect speed and ended up going in. So it was pretty exciting.”
As the day began in a steady rain, Wall, who started his round on No. 18, watched as his tee shot hit the cart path to the left of the fairway and careened out of bounds, resulting in a double bogey.
“It was messy,” he noted. “I was thinking, ‘I hope the rest of the day goes better than this.’ “
Wall played the next 14 holes in even par before carding a birdie on the par-5 15th hole to get to 1-over-par.
On the first playoff hole, the 368-yard first hole, both Wall and Edler made regulation pars, setting up the dramatic finish on the second extra hole.
“I was definitely a little nervous on the first putt, everybody watching and all,” said Wall. “But I handled all the shots, I hit two fairways and two greens and then I made one of the 15 to 20 footers I had, so it was good to be there and have the pressure on me and it was good to come out on top.”