CHATHAM, N.J. At the halfway point in the 108th NJSGA Amateur Championship at Fairmount Country Club, Anthony Campanile and Michael Deo sit atop the leader board tied at 143, a one-under par total after two rounds of play. Campanile, a college student from Blue Heron Pines G.C. who plays for Monmouth University, was the first round leader by virtue of an opening round 69; today he added a 74 on the par-72, 6,800 yard Fairmount layout. Deo, a 32 year-old NJSGA major championship winner and four-time runner-up at the State Am, opened with 71 yesterday and added a 72 today.

Campanile and Deo will play in the final pairing on Thursday, starting the 36-hole finale at 8:50 am.

The leader board is chock full of strong players. Three strokes behind Campanile and Deo in second place are Robert Cronheim of Twin Brooks C.C. and Brian Leveille of New Jersey National G.C. (146, +2). Both are college players, Cronheim a senior at Cornell and Leveille a senior at LSU.

Two-time Amateur champion Bill McGuinness of Tavistock C.C. is tied for seventh place at 148 (+4) with a host of players, including reigning NJSGA Mid-Amateur champion Anthony Scelba of Deer Run G.C., Niall Handley, one half of last year’s NJSGA Four-Ball Championship winning team, and Harris Podvey of Rolling Greens C.C., a past Mid-Amateur champion.

Defending champ Tom Gramigna (151, +7) of Tavistock fought his way back into contention today by virtue of a 72 following an opening round 79 yesterday. Jay Blumenfeld (149, +5) of Mountain Ridge C.C. lost ground with a 79 today after opening with 70 yesterday, the day’s second lowest round.

Also in contention at 151 (+7) are Michael Stamberger of Spring Lake G.C. and Mike Paduano of Golf Club of NJ, both experienced NJSGA champions. With 36 holes on the docket for tomorrow, a lot of ground can be gained – or lost. A player further back in the field who has a hot hand with the putter can easily challenge for the lead.

Most players would agree that Fairmount is playing very fair, with well-conditioned fairways and greens that aren’t overly fast, although “it’s still important to keep the ball below the hole,” Michael Deo noted.

After today’s second round, the field was cut from 98 players to the low 40 scorers plus ties. In all, 44 players made the cut at 156 (+12) and will play in tomorrow’s 36-hole finale. Rain hampered play late in the round today and more is expected tomorrow.

- Photos courtesy of James N. Lum.

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