Noelle Maertz, 25, of Ridgewood, who already had two NJSGA championships on her ledger, shot 75-76-151 to win the Women’s Mid-Amateur crown on Wednesday at the par-72, 5,852-yard Navesink Country Club in Middletown, by two shots over 2017 champion Tara Fleming of New Jersey National (74-153). Defending champion Samantha Perrotta of Old York at Chesterfield (78-156) and Donna McHugh of Upper Montclair (80-156) tied for third place.
In the concurrent NJSGA 94th Women’s Amateur Championship, two-time and defending champion Kelly Sim of Alpine shot 70-71-141 to earn medalist honors for the third straight year, earning the top seed as the Amateur switches to match play beginning Thursday. She will face the winner of the morning playoff between 2014 Mid-Amateur champion Fran Gacos of Copper Hill and 19-year-old Marissa Broderick of Shackamaxon.
The second seed went to Allison Herring of TPC Jasna Polana (73-143) with Anina Ku of Neshanic Valley (73-144) the third seed and Christina Parsells of Baltusrol (72-145) taking the fourth seed.
Sim, 19, a resident of Edgewater, seeks to become only the second player to win three consecutive Women’s Amateur Championships; Sherry Herman won four consecutive titles from 1995 to 1998 – including her 1997 victory at Navesink.
Mid-Amateur players, ages 25 and above, are eligible to compete in both championships. Maertz is one of four Mid-Amateurs to qualify for the match-play event (as the No. 11 seed); she will face No. 6 seed Madeline Jin (71-148) of Royce Brook.
The Round of 16 and quarterfinals take place on Thursday with the semifinals and championship match set for Friday.
“It’s so nice to win my third NJSGA championship. It will give me confidence going into the rest of the summer, including match play here and a U.S. Mid-Am qualifier on August 14,” said Maertz, a resident of Clark, who won the NJSGA Women’s Public Links in 2012 and the NJSGA Mixed Pinehurst with Dan Chernosky in 2017.
On June 13, Maertz won the WMGA Match-Play Championship at Fiddler’s Elbow Country Club in Bedminster. She was the first women to participate in an NJSGA Men’s Open qualifier on June 26 at Raritan Valley C.C., missing the cut by three strokes.
“I didn’t play at all last summer after I had surgery for torn tendons in my right wrist. This is only my seventh event back. After these two victories, I feel my confidence building,” said Maertz, the Northeast Conference Golfer of the Year in 2015, following her junior season at Wagner College.
“I knew I had to play better today and I did. I had no double bogeys and that was fortunate. I gave myself a lot of opportunities, but only had one birdie. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I love match play,” said Maertz a graduate of Mother Seton Regional High School.
Sim is a rising sophomore at Northwestern University and enjoyed an outstanding freshman season as she was named first-team, All-Big Ten Conference. She won three individual high school state championships for the Academy of Holy Angels in Demarest.
“Repeating as medalist means a lot. There’s an advantage of being the number one seed. I was burning a lot of edges on my birdie putts, so hopefully I’ll get those birdies when they actually count,” said Sim, who on July 18 reached the quarterfinals of the prestigious North & South Women’s Amateur. “I was a little more aggressive today. I’m reading the greens well and my speed is good. I’m giving myself more birdie chances.”
The match play field will be finalized with a playoff for the 16th seed on Thursday morning between Fran Gacos of Copper Hill and Marissa Broderick of Shackamaxon. Gacos and Broderick were about to begin a playoff Wednesday afternoon when play was suspended for the day due to severe weather.
Scoring will continue throughout the championship at NJSGA.org, in addition to social media coverage across the NJSGA's platforms.