Harcourt holds one-stroke lead heading to final round of 99th Open
Amateur Danny Harcourt of Shackamaxon battled the wind and rain and emerged with a one-shot lead after two rounds of the 99th NJSGA Open Championship on Tuesday at the par-71, 6,866-yard Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster.
Harcourt, 22, a resident of Fanwood, shot an even-par 71, for 66-71-137. His round included four birdies and four bogeys, with two of those bogeys coming on his final two holes. The Gettysburg College graduate holds a one shot lead over amateurs Mike Muehr of Pine Valley and Christopher Gotterup who stand tied for second place at 138.
Gotterup, a rising junior at Rutgers University who made second team All-Big Ten this year, shot 71 (138) to also stand one shot behind Harcourt. Amateur Jack Simon of Lake Mohawk shot 70 (139), tied for fourth place with pro Thomas Avant of Arcola 67 (139).
Two-time champion Frank Esposito of Forsgate had the day’s low round of 66 for 140, tied with amateur Michael Deo of Black Oak at 70 (140).
The low 53 players who shot eight-over-par 150 or better returned for Wednesday’s final round. Of the remaining 53 golfers, 27 are professionals. The champion will be awarded the C.W. Badenhausen championship trophy; the low professional earns a check for $15,000.
Harcourt, a graduate of St. Peter's Prep, was pleased with his second round effort, in difficult conditions. “I hit the ball solid and played smart off the tee, but the putts weren’t dropping like they did on Monday,” said Harcourt, who played in the 2016 U.S. Amateur at Oakland Hills in Michigan.
“My reads were a tad off. And it took a little while to get my speeds down early because there was some water on the greens,” said Harcourt, who was named Division 3 All-American, finishing 15th in the NCAA Division 3 Championship this spring. He won the Centennial Conference Championship as a member of Gettysburg’s team.
“I want to do the same thing tomorrow, just play against the golf course. I want to be in my own world out there. I want to be smart with my strategy and hope I can continue the same kind of ball striking.”
Muehr, 47, who lives in McLean, Va., is a native of Bernardsville and graduate of Duke University. He is a former PGA Tour pro who regained his amateur status and won such events as the Crump Cupat Pine Valley twice, the Middle Atlantic Amateur twice and the Coleman Cup once. Muehr is also a two-time quarterfinalist at the U.S. Mid-Amateur and is playing in his first NJSGA Open since 1993.
“It was a struggle out there. The weather was definitely a factor. I didn’t have it like I did yesterday. Those eight and nine footers weren’t falling,” Muehr said.
Gotterup rallied from a triple-bogey seven on the par-4 first hole when he lost his tee shot in the left rough. That was his 10th hole, but he rallied to birdie Nos. 4, 5, and 6.
“The old me would have given up after that triple bogey,” said Gotterup, who resides in Little Silver. “I’m proud of myself for coming back from that. It was a gritty day and I put myself in good position for tomorrow.”