In four trips to the finals of the NJSGA Mid-Amateur Championship, Trevor Randolph is undefeated.
On Thursday, June 7, Randolph claimed an unprecedented fourth title, defeating Mike Brown of Darlington, 2 and 1, in the 35th Mid-Amateur Championship at The Bedens Brook Club in Skillman.
It capped a week of ups and downs for Randolph, 45, who survived a one-hole deficit heading to the final hole in his semifinal match against Chester Patterson of The NJSGA E-Club; a match he would eventually win in 22 holes on Thursday morning.
Brown, a former mini-tour player, ousted Dan Macdonald of Arcola, 2 up, in the other semifinal.
Overall, it was the fifth time Randolph had played in the Mid-Amateur. The only time he didn’t reach the final was in 2015 when he lost in the semifinals, ironically enough, at his own club. Tom Gramigna of Tavistock is the only other player in NJSGA history to win as many as three Mid-Amateur championships, having done so in 2002, 2003 and 2005.
“To win this week and come back as many times as I did against some great players, was something I will remember,” said Randolph, who carded 22 birdies and an eagle in his four rounds of match play. “Mike Deo is a former champion (2007), Mark Costanza is a former pro, Chester Patterson played great and I won that in a battle of attrition, and Mike Brown is a great player and another former pro.
“There’s no question that having won the three other times was something I used to my advantage. I don’t get nervous. I think about what I want to do out there and what has worked well in the past. And I have my caddie, Mike LoCastro, helping to keep me focused. Having so much experience is an advantage.”
Randolph, who lives in Franklin Lakes, won the Mid-Amateur previously in 2013, 2014 and 2016, the year he was NJSGA Player of the Year. The native of Bethesda, Md., and former Rice University golfer also won Met Mid-Amateur championships in 2015 and 2016. He has played in 14 USGA events, including the U.S. Four-Ball Championship this year with Darin Goldstein of Bayonne. The pair lost in the first round of match play.
Randolph, a six-time club champion at Congressional Country Club in Maryland, never trailed against Brown. He took the lead for good with a birdie at the par-4 No. 4. He won with pars on the par-4’s Nos. 8 and 9 to go 3-up at the turn. Brown closed the gap to only a one-hole deficit with a birdie on the par-4 No. 14, but Randolph responded with a par victory on the next hole, the long par-4 No. 15. He closed out the match by draining a 10-foot birdie putt on the 637-yard, par-5 No. 17.
“I got beat by a great player. I would have had to play my best to beat him,” said Brown, 45, the owner of a pretzel franchise in South Jersey. He lives in Maple Shade and is a native of Cheltenham, Pa.
“I like the adrenalin of the competition,” Randolph said. “In golf, the feedback is solely your own. If you succeed, it’s solely on you. In winning, you can put in focus all the practice and dedication and you can see the rewards for something you did that you can be proud of. I have to thank my wife and four kids, who all support me,” said Randolph, an investment banker. “I coach travel baseball and finding time to practice can be challenging.”
On the fourth extra hole in the semifinal against Patterson, Randolph mishit an approach shot from 132 yards that ended 30 yards short and right of the hole, in the rough below a greenside bunker. His chip shot was nearly perfect, however, ending two feet from the cup. Randolph converted for a par and that was all he needed as Paterson three-putted from 45 feet for a bogey.
Earlier in the match, Randolph had cut a two hole deficit to one with a birdie on the par-4 No. 15.
Patterson went into the 18thhole, 1 up, and needed only a half to secure the victory. But he three-putted from 40 feet for a bogey, and the match went to extra holes. The players parred the first three extra holes until the decisive par-4 No. 4.
“The only time I led in the match was when my final putt dropped,” Randolph said. “He played really solid. I had five birdies and an eagle, and he matched me shot for shot. He didn’t give an inch,” Randolph said.
Patterson, 35, is a native of Basking Ridge and works as a financial advisor. He was a member of the golf team at Villanova University.
“I hit it well all day. I’m definitely playing better. I’m staying in shape and eating better and I’m finding time to practice,” said Patterson, who used a demo driver borrowed from Bedens Brook head professional Paul Poandl during his final three matches.
In the other semi-final match, Brown found himself trailing Macdonald by two holes through six, but turned it around with a birdie victory on the par-5 No. 7, and a par victory on the par-4 No. 9. He took his first lead with a par victory on the par-4 No. 11, and held it all the way until No. 18, where he again won with a par.
“That was the toughest match I have ever played,” stated Brown, 45, who had played seven years on the mini-tour circuit (1998-2005). He became a reinstated amateur in 2007.
“I seem to be playing better as the rounds have been going on. My short game has been solid the whole way. I like the format,” he said.
Macdonald, 37, won two prestigious events in 2017, the Travis Invitational and the Hochster Memorial and will be out to defend his Hochster title on June 18 at Quaker Ridge Golf Club in Scarsdale, NY.
“That was probably the best I played all week. It was a great match. Neither one us gave much to the other”, Macdonald said.