In his many years playing in New Jersey State Golf Association championships, Gregg Angelillo of Baltusrol Golf Club never once had a chance to have his name etched on an individual trophy.
He broke through on Wednesday in a big way, firing a five-under-par 65 for a 133 total to win the 60thPre-Senior Championship by nine shots over playing partner and first-round co-leader Mike Stamberger of Spring Lake Golf Club who shot 74-142 at the Roxiticus Country Club in Mendham.
Tied for third were Mike Guli of Essex County Country Club (66-143) and Peter Kozubal of Fox Hollow Golf Club (73-143).
Angelillo’s only other claim to fame in NJSGA annals was a Four-Ball championship along with Mike Deo. The twosome represented Montclair Golf Club in 2007.
“I’ve been on the NJSGA donation tour for quite some time,” joked Angelillo, 48, a two-time club champion at Baltusrol (2012, 2016). “A lot of people don’t consider this a major, but I do.”
Angelillo, a father of three who lives in Basking Ridge, last week qualified for the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship when he shot 67 at the Watchung Valley Golf Club. The U.S. Mid-Amateur takes place Sept. 22-27, at the Charlotte Country Club in North Carolina.
“In the last week or so, I’m hitting it on line and in the right spots on the greens, and the putts are dropping. Also, I don’t want to get ahead of myself and worrying about the mistakes I’ve made,” said Angelillo, a graduate of Verona High School and Central Connecticut State University, where he was a member of the golf team.
“Today, I knew my playing partner, Mike Stamberger, could be a force and somebody who could shoot lights out on me. But on the first hole, I hit a wedge from 95 yards to six feet and made the birdie, and he missed an eight footer, so I just felt it was a great way to start my round. I wanted to get up on him and pile on,” he said.
Angelillo recorded three birdies on each side. Besides No. 1, he birdied the par-5 No. 5, despite hitting his approach over the green. But his chip shot left him only four feet for a birdie, which he converted. He went three under par on the par-4 No. 7 by making a 12-foot birdie putt.
On the back nine, Angelillo started strong with birdies on the first two holes, sinking short putts on the par-4 Nos. 10 and 11. He made it six birdies for the day on the par-4 No. 13, sinking a 50-foot left-to-right putt. His only blemish came on the par-3 No. 16 when his tee shot went over the green and he failed to get up and down.
“I’ve contended a number of times in NJSGA majors, but I never finished as a champion. It’s a very hard thing to do. This is also the first time I finished under par in a state event,” said Angelillo, a former caddie at Montclair G.C.
As a top amateur, he has played on multiple NJSGA Compher Cup and Stoddard Trophy teams.
“Golf has been a passion of mine for a long time. I love the competition. I love the challenge of every shot and every tournament. I love to test myself against younger guys and guys of all ages. This is the only sport that allows you to do that,” Angelillo noted.