DENVILLE – Tyler Hall had no choice but to win the New Jersey State Golf Association Open title on Thursday. He’d promised his 6-month-old daughter Finley that he’d buy her a pony with his winners’ check.
Hall reiterated that pledge just after he and his wife, Brianna, held that oversized check in their hands at Rockaway River Country Club. He finished with a 4-under 68 in the final round, giving him a three-day total of 205 — 11 under overall — and a seven-stroke victory.
The Director of Instruction at Upper Montclair Country Club, Hall had a two-stroke lead going into the third and final day of the NJSGA Open. He closed with four birdies on his final five holes, two-putting from 10 feet on 18 before picking his ball out of the hole with a big fist pump.
“My caddie said ‘Knock this one in for your daughter,'” said Hall, 33, who has seven lessons scheduled today, starting at 8 a.m.
“I thought I did this whole thing for my daughter. Way to put the pressure on. I gave it a good run. … It’s amazing the perspective I have now, as a new father, not really letting the weight of the situation get to me. At the end of the day, I’m still the same guy and I get to see my daughter, and that’s a really nice feeling.”
Max Greyserman of Crestmont, the defending champion, finished second with a 212 – and was the amateur champ. Michael Stamberger (Spring Lake) was tied with Brett Jones (Due Process) for third overall and the No. 2 amateur. Ryan Snouffer, a Jefferson alumnus representing Panther Valley, was fifth – third among amateurs – at 214.
Hall and Snouffer played together on Thursday, “a good experience” for the rising junior at Seton Hall. But Snouffer didn’t think he hit the ball well at the NJSGA Open, but “kind of got away with it the first two days.” He hit his tee shot into the woods on the fourth hole on Thursday, winding up with a triple bogey.
“I was in the right position,” said Snouffer, who came into the final day two strokes behind Hall. “I went in questioning what, exactly, was going to happen, which was definitely my fault. I just wanted to play my best and see if it worked out for me the first two days. Unfortunately, it didn’t.”
Hall admitted switching to an 8-iron after watching Snouffer tee off on the par-3 14th hole, which started his final, triumphant run. He had a two-putt, two-foot birdie on No. 15, had “the freest stroke I had all week” on No. 16 from about 12 feet, and about 15 feet on No. 17.
Hall won the Met Open in 2011 as well as events on three different mini-tours over the past 10 years, and was happy to have “another crack” at Rockaway River after finishing second in the Met Junior there in ’98.
“That was kind of the tournament for me,” Hall said of the 14th tee shot, which landed four feet from the hole.
“I knew after I made that, I was going to be off and running. I could finally breathe. I think I sprinted off that green. Fifteen was the start of the end for me. I knew I could start to let it go and I could really protect a few-shot lead.”
Tyler Hall (Upper Montclair) 68-69-68-205; Max Greyserman (Crestmont) 67-73-72-212; Brett Jones (Due Process) 72-71-70-213; Michael Stamberger (Spring Lake) 76-72-65-213; Ryan Snouffer (Panther Valley) 68-71-75-214; Patrick Fillian (Echo Lake) 75-71-70-216; James McGovern (White Beeches) 74-68-74-216; Jeremy Nerius (Metuchen) 75-68-73-216; David Quinn (Links) 76-68-72-216; Mike Shine (Valley Brook) 72-71-73-216; John McCarthy (Morris County) 69-72-75-216; Erick Alonso (Burlington) 70-74-73-217; Brian Mackey (White Beeches) 72-72-73-217; Trevor Randolph (Arcola) 74-73-70-217; Ed Whilman (Knickerbocker) 74-73-80-217; Greg Baker (Rockaway River) 35-38-35-218; Ryan Fountaine (Arcola) 74-71-73-218; Luke Graboyes (Twin Brooks) 75-75-69-218; J.T. Harper (Fiddler’s Elbow) 71-77-70-218; William Hook (Knickerbocker) 71-74-73-218; Brent Studer (Metedeconk National) 73-70-75-218; Alex Beach (Ridgewood) 69-78-71-218; Bill Britton (Trump National Colts Neck) 75-73-71-219; Chris Mazzuchelli (Bayonne) 75-71-73-219; Jeffrey Bonicky (Sea Oaks) 70-78-72-220; Jeremy Wall (Manasquan River) 74-73-73-220; Craig Smith (Somerset Hills) 73-73-74-220; Jeremy Wall (Manasquan River) 74-73-73-220; Ryan Siegler (Mercer Oaks) 76-70-74-220; Carl Hays (Hollywood) 71-74-76-221; Peter Kozubal (Fox Hollow) 75-70-76-221; Vincent Palazzolo (Colts Neck) 73-75-73-221; Henry Wesson (Ridgewood) 77-69-75-221; Henry Wesson (Ridgewood) 77-69-75-221; Andy Brock (Metuchen) 75-72-75-222; Peter Chang (Black Oak) 75-68-80-223; Mike Strlekar (Montclair) 74-75-74-223; Chris Schlosser (Canoe Brook) 73-73-77-223; Ben Alcorn (Fairmount) 73-76-75-224; Chris Dzergoski (Bella Vista) 72-71-81-224; Robert Henneker (Indian Spring) 73-71-80-224; Michael Meizenzahl (Shore Gate) 72-75-77-224; Scott Paris (Plainfield) 78-71-75-224; Zach Stark (Cedar Hill) 75-72-77-224; Michael LaBrutto (Greenacres) 76-72-77-225; Dave McGovern (Brooklake) 72-74-79-225; Chris Dachisen (North Jersey) 74-75-77-226; Michael Deo (Black Oak) 71-75-80-226; Matthew Hardy (Canoe Brook) 75-72-80-226; Marc Issler (Toms River) 74-74-78-226; Mark McCormick (Suburban) 73-73-80-226; K.J. Kim (Darlington) 72-75-82-229; Blaine Lafferty (Burlington) 76-73-80-229; Nicholas Rencis (Ballyowen) 77-72-80-229; Kevin Weyneth (Hollywood) 75-74-82-231; Alex Ferrante (Alpine) 73-72-87-232