October 27, 2020 - In a race against darkness today and heavy rain expected later this week, match play is underway in the 88th New Jersey State Golf Association Four-Ball Championship at the spectacular Manasquan River Golf Club in Brielle. The round of 16 matches were suspended for darkness at 6:15 p.m. today, which followed stroke play qualifying this morning where Trevor Randolph and Chris DeJohn of Arcola combined for a nine-under-par 63 to claim medalist honors.

The round of 16 will resume on Wednesday morning, followed by the quarterfinals on Wednesday afternoon. The semifinals and championship match are both scheduled for Thursday, but with the remnants of Hurricane Zeta to pass through the area on Thursday and Friday - forecast to bring heavy rain and strong winds - scheduling remains in question.

"We're prepared to play as much golf today (Tuesday) and tomorrow to take advantage of every minute of daylight and hope to stay ahead of the storm. So we'll do the best we can. And give credit to Matt Morrow (MRGC's golf course superintendent) and his team for great work - on top of the course being perfect, they'll have to prepare most of the course in the dark tomorrow morning so we can resume on time," stated Brad Bardon, NJSGA Director of Championships.

The shots of the day came from Ryan Stewart of Howell Park, who recorded a round for the ages during morning stroke play. Stewart's round included a double eagle - the rarest shot in golf - and an eagle back-to-back on the 11th and 12th holes to propel himself and partner Pat Gates to a two-under-par 70 and a spot in match play.

Scoring & Match Play Bracket

Photos

Randolph powered his way around the par-72, 6,779 yard Robert White-designed gem with a seven-under-par 65 on his own ball, which included seven birdies, one of them out of a bunker on the par-4, 12th hole.

“We were in a lot of the same holes and that made it easier for us,” said Randolph, who has won four NJSGA Mid-Amateur Championships. “The greens were rolling great and the course is wide open. Plus, it’s nice when you have somebody like Chris who can hit it 320 yards off the tee.”

Recently, DeJohn defeated Randolph in the semifinals of the Arcola club championship that was won by Xavier Dailly. They often play together as part of Arcola’s Hoffman Cup team.

“We’re excited for match play. Whoever makes the most birdies will win the match. You’re not going to win with pars,” said DeJohn, who finished tied for sixth in the NJSGA Amateur Championship at Arcola.

Stewart, 24, a resident of Spring Lake registered an albatross when he holed out with a six iron from 230 yards on the par-5, 531-yard, 11th hole. He followed with another two on the par-4, 355-yard, 12th hole when he dunked a 54-degree wedge from 60 yards into the cup. The odds on making an albatross alone are 6 million to one, according to the Double Eagle Club.

“On the 11th hole, I was on the left corner of the hill, just on the fringe. I hit it short and let it roll on the green. I was in shock when it went in,” said Stewart, who played club golf at Stockton University in Pomona.

“On the eagle, it went right into the hole. I had to repair the back of the cup,” said Stewart, whose round of 72 was a career low. He has never shot a hole-in-one.

“The albatross was so awesome. When the second shot flew directly into the hole, I said this is truly incredible. It turns out we needed both holes to make the cut.”

Among the more compelling round of 16 matches include Bataille and Whitman versus defending champions Ryan Macdonald of Colts Neck and Kevin Campana of Ash Brook. All four golfers played for Rutgers; Bataille and Whitman are 2-up through 11 holes.

Another match if interest is the all-Manasquan River showdown better Mike Stamberger and partner Chris Housen against brothers Ethan and Jeremy Wall. The Housen/Stamberger tandem is 1-up through nine holes.

The round of 16 matches will resume on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m.; follow all the action at NJSGA.org and across the NJSGA's social media platforms.

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