88th Four-Ball Championship - Semifinal matches set; Manasquan River's Housen & Stamberger among final four
October 28, 2020 - Chris Housen and Mike Stamberger of Manasquan River called upon their local course knowledge and won four consecutive holes on the back nine to advance to the semifinals of the 88th NJSGA Four-Ball Championship on Wednesday at the par-72, 6,934-yard Manasquan River Golf Club in Brielle.
Housen and Stamberger defeated former Rutgers teammates Jason Bataille and Brian Whitman, 1-up. They will face the Rumson duo of Morten Gotterup and Chuck Anttonen, who ousted Tom Collins of Essex County and Tom Guy of Eligo Club, 5 & 3.
The other semifinal pairing is the brother tandem of Steve and Brian Zychowski of Mendham against former Ridge High School teammates John Meyers and Brett Sinofsky. The Zychowskis were 2 & 1 winners over Arcola’s Trevor Randolph and Chris DeJohn, while Meyers and Sinofsky topped John Browndorf and Jack Skirkanich, 3 & 2.
Due to impending inclement weather the next two days, the semifinals and final are now scheduled for 8 a.m. on Saturday.
“Course knowledge was definitely a factor coming in. Everybody hits if further than we do. Out here, it’s about knowing where to hit it,” said Housen, 55, who combined with Stamberger to win Holes 13, 14, 15 and 16 after being two holes down. Other than a birdie victory on the par-4 No. 14, when Stamberger drove the green and two-putted for birdie, the other holes were won with pars.
Bataille and Whitman won No. 17 with a par to cut the deficit to one hole, but the teams halved the final hole with pars.
“There’s a lot of things out there you have to know about,” said Stamberger, who has twice won the NJSGA Amateur Championship. “There was a lot of wind in your face on the back nine and pin placements in the back of greens made the course play hard.”
In the Round of 16, Housen and Stamberger ousted fellow Manasquan River members, brothers Ethan and Jeremy Wall, 2 and 1.
The pairing of Gotterup and Anttonen have recorded just one bogey over the first two matches. In the quarterfinal triumph over Collins and Guy, they combined to go six under par 66. The victory included an eagle on the par-4, 14th hole, when Anttonen holed out from the left greenside bunker.
“We’ve been playing a lot together at our club and we know we’re a good team,” said Anttonen, 33, a six-time club champion at Beacon Hill C.C. who joined Rumson three years ago. Anttonen was four-under-par on his ball in the afternoon match.
“We’re always in the hole. Chuck is the power guy. He can attack the greens, which he's been doing. The strength of my game is chipping and putting, and it helps out here because these are tricky greens,” said Gotterup, who won the NJSGA Pre-Senior Championship in 2012 and was runner-up in 2015.
Gotterup, 53, is the father of Chris Gotterup, the 2019 NJSGA Open Champion.
“The Gotterups love this course. Chris set a course record of 63 here this summer,” he noted.
The Zychowski brothers carded seven birdies in the victory over Randolph and DeJohn. Brian Zychowski’s slippery 20-foot birdie putt on the dangerous 16th green provided a two-up lead. But generally, Steve Zychowski’s putting carried the day.
“Steve was on another planet. He was lights out, putt after putt,” Brian started.
“Brian gave me a little putting tip on Tuesday, just before it got dark, and I’ve kept making putts. I felt really good on the greens today,” said Steve, who paired with his brother in reaching the Four-Ball semifinals a year ago.
“The greens are perfect, but the course plays differently in the wind. You can play the same tees and feel like you’re playing a completely different game. It’s a great course. You have to adapt according to what the conditions give you,” Steve Zychowski said.
Putting was the name of the game as well for Meyers and Sinofsky including a 35-foot par save on the par-3, third hole, that prevented loss of the hole. Meyers also added birdie putts of under 10 feet on Holes 1, 5 and 14.
“That 35-footer for par was a big momentum swing for us,” Meyers said. “We could’ve been in position to lose two holes in a row. Overall, we’re hitting solid shots and putting pressure on our opponents. So far, it's worked well."
After a two-day hiatus, be sure to follow the action on Saturday at NJSGA.org and through the NJSGA's social media accounts: Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.