Host New Jersey, Led By Komline, Eager For USGA State Team Event At Galloway National
Brian Komline of Black Oak, a two-time New Jersey State Golf Association Player of The Year, knows what it’s like to compete in a USGA event as important as the 10th USGA Men’s State Team Championship which will be played next week at the Galloway National Golf Club in Galloway, N.J.
“All USGA events are equally big, whether you are playing for yourself or representing your state in the U.S. State Team Championships,” said Komline, who along with 2011 Player of the year Mike Stamberger of Spring Lake and 2012 State Open co-runner-up Niall Handley of Essex Fells will represent New Jersey in the USGA Men’s State Team Championship at Galloway National beginning on Wednesday, Sept. 19, and continuing through Friday, Sept. 21.
Komline and Stamberger are each representing New Jersey on the team for a third time.
WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY TEE TMES
1:21 p.m. and 8:31 a.m.: Brian Higgins, Bellingham, Mass.; Jeff Jolley, South Jordan, Utah; Brian Komline, Bridgewater, N.J.
1:30 p.m. and 8:40 a.m.: Doug Clapp, Walpole, Mass.; Dan Horner, Sandy, Utah; Niall Handley, West Caldwell, N.J.
1:39 p.m. and 8:49 a.m.: Herbie Aikens, Kingston, Mass.; Jon Wright, Sandy, Utah; Mike Stamberger, Brielle, N.J.
“It’s such an honor to play in this event for your home state and in your home state, and to possibly bring home a USGA championship to New Jersey,” said Komline, State Player of the Year in 2007 and ’08 and the only man in NJSGA history to win all five of its major championships.
The team of Komline (Bridgewater resident), Stamberger (Brielle) and Handley (West Caldwell) are well known to each other. Komline and Handley were college teammates as Fairleigh Dickinson University. Stamberger was runner-up to Komline in this May’s NJSGA Mid-Amateur, which was played at Galloway National. Handley, the Met Mid-Amateur champion in 2011, was a semifinalist in that event.
Komline and Stamberger , both 40, have each twice represented the state in the State Team Championships. They have also played in multiple USGA Mid-Amateurs, Komline qualifying for match play this year, and Stamberger, a Met Amateur champion, reaching the quarterfinals in 2011. Handley, 38, and Komline won the State Four-Ball Championship as teammates in 2008.
Bob Housen of Manasquan River, who has won six State Amateurs, will act as honorary captain and offer advice.
“It’s nice to play with guys you know. It gives you a feeling of comfort, knowing you can count on them. Should one of us have a bad day, we know the other guys can pick you up of you happen to fall,” said Komline, who last week qualified for the match-play portion of the U.S. Mid-Amateur.
In the State Team Championships, the three New Jersey players will play in threesomes with golfers from two other states (Massachusetts and Utah)) and play one after each other on consecutive holes. Golfers will play 18 holes each of the three days, with the two lowest of the three individual scores counting as the team’s score that day. The team with the lowest aggregate through 54 holes is the champion.
The USGA Men’s and Women’s State Team Championships grew out of celebration of the USGA Centennial in 1995, coincidentally the same year that Galloway National – hosting its first national tournament – was opened. The championships are open to players from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
The New Jersey team is selected using the NJSGA Player of the Year points list. Similar to the Ryder Cup, points are doubled in the year of the event and added to the previous year.
“Knowing Galloway National is a little bit of an advantage, but not a tremendous one. Guys from out of state will get there Monday and have two days to practice,” Komline said. “Having played it 10 or 12 times like we have, instead of twice, we’ll know where you can hit the ball and where not to hit it.
“It will come down to execution, and hitting the shots where you want to hit them. While we expect big things, we’ll have to keep our balance and our minds straight and play good, solid golf for 54 holes. There will be a lot of great golfing states represented here,” Komline concluded.
The Pennsylvania team will include last week’s U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Nathan Smith, who won for a record fourth time, and Sean Knapp, who reached the round of 16. They were on Pennsylvania’s championship team in 2009. New York also has a strong team.
New Jersey’s best finish was tie for fourth in 2001 behind Mike Deo of Black Oak, Mike Hyland of Little Mill and Allan Small of Fairmount. Minnesota won that year.
In the last State Team Championship, in 2010, New Jersey was 23rd behind Tom Gramigna of Tavistock, David Pierce of Neshanic Valley and Komline. Kansas won the event.
Galloway National is a Tom Fazio-designed course known for its heavily wooded, sloping bayside property with breathtaking views and challenging features. It plays to a par 71.
The event is the third USGA tournament held in New Jersey in 2012. The U.S. Junior Girls Championship was conducted at Neshanic Valley in June while the USGA Men’s Senior Amateur will take place at Mountain Ridge C.C. in West Caldwell, Sept. 29-Oct. 4.