Photo: Lou Oberti (l), Kevin Fitzpatrick (r)

The team of Lou Oberti and Kevin Fitzpatrick of Deer Run were the 27-hole overall net champions in the fifth New Jersey State Golf Association Ultimate Team Event (“UTE”), presented by the Caribbean islands of St. Kitts, played Monday at one of the finest facilities in the Garden State - Wild Turkey and Cascades at the Crystal Springs Resort.

For the first time in its five-year history, the UTE was at a public venue.

Fitzpatrick and Oberti, who combined for 67 points and won on a match of cards, received glassware and $500 each towards an entry fee for the St. Kitts Admirals Cup, an Admirals Cup shoe bag and complimentary overnight and pro shop credit at Crystal Springs Resort.

“We had a great day and loved the course. What won it for us were birdies on two of the toughest holes in the Pinehurst portion, holes three and four at Wild Turkey,” said Fitzpatrick, who along with Oberti, John Danckwerth and Anthony Abad, won the 2014 NJSGA Best-Ball-of-Four Championship at Trump National in Colts Neck.

The father-and-son team of George and Thomas Delli Santi of Preakness Valley were randomly picked through a drawing at the end of the awards reception to receive an all-expenses paid trip, including airfare, to St. Kitts. The lucky team winners will represent the NJSGA and compete in the 2020 Admirals Cup Am-Am, which is the St. Kitts Tourism Authority's signature golf event. The event takes place Feb. 1-6, 2020, at the Robert Trent Jones Course at Four Season Resort Nevis and the Royal St. Kitts Golf Club.

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“We are looking forward to this very much. I’m still in shock that we won. I definitely can’t wait to go,” said George, 63, who was playing in his second UTE. Said son Thomas, 21, a Seton Hall University rising senior: “I haven’t traveled much. This will be a great time for us at a great event.”

In addition, each player on the top three overall teams, plus the first-place teams in each of the three formats, were awarded a $500 credit certificate for use toward entry into the 2020 Admirals Cup, along with pro shop credit for use at Wild Turkey that day.

Other award winners were: 27-Hole Overall Net:  

1-Kevin Fitzpatrick and Lou Oberti, Deer Run (67 MOC)

2-Joe Giamanco and Joe Giunta, Beacon Hill (67 MOC)

3-Mel Knight and Brevin Knight, N.J. Ball Strikers (64)

27-Hole Overall Gross: 1-Rocco Sconzo and Brian Jones, The Knoll (24)

Cascades 9 – Four-Ball: 1-Jim Lauck and George Lauck, Oak Hill (23)

Wild Turkey F9: Pinehurst: 1-Anthony Hooks and Bill Costigan, Due Process Stable (23)

Wild Turkey B9: Shamble: 1-Matt Alberti and Robert Kennedy, Eligo (24)

Buddy Miller of Watchung Valley recorded an eagle from 135 yards on the par-4, fifth hole on the Cascades course, using a pitching wedge. Brian Jones of The Knoll won closest to the pin (9 feet on the 10th hole at Wild Turkey).

“The winners are extremely fortunate to be able to win the all-expenses paid trip to the Admirals Cup. I went last year and enjoyed all aspects of the trip. The views and the golf are spectacular,” said Pat Egan of The Knoll.

The highly anticipated event was held in the mountains of northwest New Jersey “We consider the Ultimate Team Event one of the most unique net events in the country,” said Rich Kennedy, NJSGA Director of Handicapping and Member Services.

The UTE, a 27-hole, two-man team, net tournament, uses three different formats for each nine-hole round. Pinehurst, Four-Ball, and Shamble are the three formats for the event.

“Crystal Springs is such a unique place. It’s always exciting to come here. People come for a variety of reasons, so there’s a lot of excitement, a buzz at Crystal Springs,” Kennedy added.

A change to the format this year was continuous 27-hole play with no significant breaks between nines.

“We played continuously because of the dynamic of the courses we’re using at Crystal Springs. “It’s a nuance, but the players seem to like it and it’s something we will consider doing next year and beyond,” Kennedy said.

Zach Brinley of Brinley Gold Shipwreck Rum, the No. 1 export of St. Kitts, was on hand to offer samples. Brinley’s dad, Bob, a native of Montclair, N.J., reopened a distillery on the island in 2003. 

“New Jersey and St. Kitts are our two largest markets,” Zach Brinley said. “We think it’s a natural fit. We have our product in six countries and throughout the United States.”

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