September 24, 2020 - Up until a week ago, it wasn’t the greatest summer of play for Jason Bataille of NJSGA eClub-North.

“To be honest, I had not been striking the ball well. I had been struggling with it. My short game and putting was carrying me. The last couple of rounds I’ve been concentrating on my swing path. So now, when I get my tee shots in play, I can figure something out.”

Bataille, 37, a two-time NJSGA Junior Champion, fired a two-under-par 68 to earn the medal by two strokes over Dan Macdonald of Arcola at Thursday’s qualifier for the 37th NJSGA Mid-Amateur Championship at the par-70, 6,657-yard Knoll (West) Country Club in Parsippany.

Tied for third at 72 were Paul Giovannoli of NJSGA eClub-North, Eric Broms of Baltusrol, and Michael Guli of Essex County. A total of 18 golfers who shot 76 or better qualified for the Mid-Amateur Championship, which is set for Oct. 13-15 at North Jersey Country Club in Wayne.

Scoring

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“I had never seen the course before,” said Bataille , a resident of Bridgewater, who partnered with Brian Whitman of Knickerbocker to earn co-medalist honors in an NJSGA Four-Ball qualifier on Sept. 14 at Jumping Brook in Neptune. The duo has qualified for two U.S. Four-Ball Championships.

“On the first 14 holes, I either hit the fairway or was just off,” said Bataille, a former member of the Rutgers University golf team who had all five of his birdies in that stretch.

“I was really impressed with the layout. There are a lot of good golf holes here. They seem to be concentrating on improving the golf course. You could tell they’ve done some great work here.”

Bataille’s round included some memories. He hit a flop shot from 15 yards behind the green on the par-4, 10th hole that found the cup for a chip-in birdie. On the par-4, 14th hole, he holed out from a right-side bunker to get him to three under par. He bogeyed the par-4, 16th hole after being forced to hit a shot against a tree as a left-handed golfer.

“I’ve never seen North Jersey, either,” said Bataille, who reached the semifinals of the NJSGA Mid-Amateur in 2014. “I'm excited to play there.”

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