Fioretti Wins Senior Amateur; Stark Takes Super-Senior
CAPTION: From left, NJSGA president Bill Frese, champion Anthony Fioretti, Bob Murray, NJM vice president
It was a day for playoffs when the 60th NJSGA Senior Amateur Championship and 8th Super-Senior Championship were conducted on Thursday, Oct. 4, at the Essex Fells Country Club in Roseland.
Both championships were presented by the NJM Insurance Group, a first-time sponsor of the events.
Anthony Fioretti of Ballyowen Golf Club, 58, needed three playoff holes to defeat John Trainor of Valley Brook Golf Course in the Senior Amateur Championship. Each player shot an even-par 70 to force the playoff.
Earlier, Les Stark of New Jersey National Golf Club bested Randy Riley of Baltusrol Golf Club in a two-hole playoff to win the Super-Senior Championship.
The championships were each scheduled to be played over two days and 36 holes, but rain on Tuesday night forced cancellation of play on Wednesday. Each championship was reduced to 18 holes on Thursday.
Fioretti won on the third playoff hole, the uphill, par-4 18th. He and Trainor had tied with pars when the first playoff hole took place there, then moved on to the par-3 No. 10 for the second playoff hole. After parring there, the two went back to No. 18. This time, Trainor ran into trouble when his approach shot out of the left rough found the left-side bunker, while Fioretti hit the green in regulation.
“It was a great day. I hit a lot of fairways all day and my iron play was solid,” said Trainor, 58, who won the club championship at Knickerbocker Country Club in 2014.
Fioretti had been close to victory twice in his event. In 2015, he tied for second with Jay Blumenfeld of Mountain Ridge Country Club, as Bill Charpek of Navesink Country Club won the event. He had led after the first round two years ago at Shackamaxon Country Club.
“I’m relieved that I’ve finally won this event. It helped me that it was reduced to only one round,” said Fioretti, a vending machine distributor. “It’s nice to finally get my name on an NJSGA trophy. I hit it well
Stark celebrated his 68th birthday in style with his victory in the Super-Senior Championship. Both he and Riley shot five-over-par 75 at Essex Fells. Stark won it with a par on the second playoff hole, the par-3 No. 10, with a two-putt par from 25 feet.
“This is a great thrill, to win an event of this type with so many good players in the field,” said Stark, who previously won an NJSGA Mixed Pinehurst Championship with his wife, Yvonne. “I would’ve preferred to
win it as a two-day tournament, but it certainly is important to win it in a playoff. The course was short today, so that certainly worked in my favor.”
Stark and Riley each parred the first playoff hole, the par-4, uphill No. 18. Riley’s tee shot on the second playoff hole, No. 10, was short and right of the green. Stark, meanwhile, found the apron of the green. When Riley failed to negotiate two difficult shots out of the rough, all Stark had to do was make par, which he did.
Stark has twice won the New Jersey National Senior club championship and was runner-up this summer. “I putted well today, although I lipped out several times. I hit almost every green,” said Stark, who has made his career in harness racing as a groom, trainer and owner.
These NJSGA events were presented by the NJM Insurance Group.“NJM supports local communities and charities. Our association with the NJSGA helps us to support the NJSGA Caddie Scholarship Foundation and Youth Foundation. The relationship with the NJSGA allows us to reach a demographic of many people who are buyers of commercial insurance,” said Bob Murray, NJM Insurance Group Vice President of Commercial Lines.