James Arbes of Shackamaxon collected four birdies and an eagle on his way to medalist honors, firing a two-under-par 70 at the second of two qualifying rounds for the 53rd NJSGA Mid-Amateur Championship on Thursday, May 23, at the par-72, 6,603-yard Brooklake Country Club in Florham Park.


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Arbes was two shots better than Bill Sovak of Darlington and three better than John Meyers of Moggy Brook. Mike O’Connell of Arcola was fourth at two-over-par 74.

The field of 96 was vying for entrance into the Mid-Amateur Championship, and the 28 golfers who shot 80 or better have advanced to the event proper which takes place June 4-6 at Crestmont Country Club in West Orange.

Heavy morning rains delayed the tee times by 40 minutes. Rain cleared the course for about an hour at 3:40 p.m. Play resumed at 4:40 p.m., due in large part to the terrific work by Scott Carpenter and the Brooklake greens department.

Arbes’s eagle occurred on the par-5 No. 11 when his No. 2 hybrid reached the front edge of the green and he drained a 25-foot putt. Other birdies came on holes Nos. 3, 4, 6, and 13.

“I’ve been working hard on my game, on consistency in my swing,” said Arbes, 31, a former Rutgers University golfer who lives in Westfield. “The winds were tough to read. The greens were pure. If you hit a good putt, you were rewarded.”

Last summer, Arbes, who works in operations for an engineering firm, reached the match-play portion of the Mid-Amateur, held at The Bedens Brook Club in Skillman. He lost in the Round of 16 to Meyers. Arbes also finished T-31 in the NJSGA Amateur in 2018 at Echo Lake Country Club in Westfield.

“Reaching match-play last year was good. I hope to do better this year,” Arbes said. “I’ve been practicing a lot. I want to play well in the New York City Amateur this weekend.”

Sovak, 49, said he was aided by course conditions.

“The greens were at very good speeds for me. They were in my sweet spot, and that allowed me to be aggressive and make a few putts,” said Sovak, who works in IT sales. He carded two birdies on each side and four total bogeys.

Last year, Meyers shot an even-par 72 to share medalist honors with Tyler Duke of Rumson and Thomas Guy of Eligo Club in the stroke-play qualifier at Bedens Brook. After defeating Arbes, he lost in the quarterfinal round to Dan Macdonald of Arcola.

“The course played tough today, with soggy conditions and a swirling wind. It was difficult in making club selections. But the greens were rolling nice. I got up and down a lot,” said Meyers, 28, a Basking ridge native who works in the USGA’s Championship Department.

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