WEST ORANGE, N.J. On the strength of an opening round 64, Chris Dachisen of North Jersey Country Club marched to a five stroke victory today in the NJSGA/NJPGA Senior Open Championship, sponsored by Lincoln Mercury, at Rock Spring Club. With a closing round of 70, Dachisen never was in jeopardy of being caught in the 36-hole event. His two round total of 134, or eight under par on the par-71, 6,590 yard Rock Spring course, is the lowest winning score in recent memory.
Combined with his July victory in the Section Senior PGA Championship at North Jersey, Dachisen’s win today clinches the NJ Section’s Senior Player of the Year award. At just 51, he will be a force to be reckoned with for some time in NJ senior competitions. Dachisen is a two-time winner of the NJSGA Open Championship, in 1997 at Crestmont and 2001 at Upper Montclair.
The win comes during a year in which Dachisen has struggled with his game. “To tell you the truth, I’m a little bit surprised to have won twice and clinched Senior Player of the Year,” he said, recognizing the swing troubles he’s battled this year. “But I love this golf course and have played it well before,” he added, referring to other competitive rounds at Rock Spring of 65 and 66. His 64 yesterday is his lowest round ever at Rock Spring, which is a frequent venue for NJPGA and NJSGA championships.
Dachisen’s opening salvo of 64 contained seven birdies and no bogies. In fact, there was not a single five on his scorecard. It’s often difficult to follow such a low score with another strong round, but his closing 70 was steady, more conservative, and easily enough to get the job done. “You’re always apprehensive how the day will turn out [after shooting such a low score],” he said, “so I’m glad it’s over.” The 12th hole, where he managed a good par following a shaky drive, settled his nerves a bit coming down the stretch. “That let me relax a bit and finish out the round,” he noted. Dachisen then proceeded to rattle off three consecutive birdies, starting on the short par-5 13th, to seal the deal.
The battle at the Senior Open was for second place. Baker Maddera, the host pro, and amateur Jay Blumenfeld of Mountain Ridge finished in a tie for second at 139. Both finished with rounds in the 60s to lock up second place; with it, Blumenfeld earned low amateur honors. Ed Whitman of Knickerbocker and legendary amateur Bob Housen of Manasquan River tied for fourth place at 140. Allan Small, the reigning NJSGA Senior Amateur champion, finished in sixth place at 141. The low round of the day (67) was recorded by Tom Jaeger of Quail Ridge Golf World, who finished in seventh place. The amateurs had a good showing with three finishes in the top seven. The NJSGA returns to Rock Spring next year for the 89th State Open Championship.