ESSEX FELLS, N.J. - Michael Brown fired a 5-under par 65 to take a four-stroke lead into the second round at the 120th New Jersey State Amateur Championship presented by Provident Bank at Essex Fells Country Club. Brown, the champion of the 2020 NJSGA Mid-Amateur Championship, was the 36-hole co-leader in last year’s State Amateur.

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“This is going to be a tougher nut to crack, for sure,” Brown said, reflecting on his past experiences in NJSGA events. “I don't win a lot of tournaments, so it tells me that it's possible, if nothing else. I feel good, and there's no reason I can't win.”

Brown, of Rock Spring Golf Course opened with a birdie at the par-5 first, one of his four birdies on the front nine. He made the turn at 4-under, and, after making his lone bogey of the day at No. 13, finished with a pair of birdies in his last five holes to post 5-under.

“My putter was working for me today,” Brown said. "I didn't do anything fancy; I hit the ball in play and tried to hit the ball in the middle of the green. I made a couple of long putts, which is unusual, and I made most of my short ones. I was thinking clearly today, and the ball was going where I intended it to go.”

Chris DeJohn and John Havay share second place at 1-under par. After making bogey in two of his first three holes, Havay played the back nine at 3-under to post 69, while DeJohn made 14 pars and three birdies on his way to shooting 69. His only blemish was a double-bogey at the 10th hole.

 

 

“I drove the ball really well and hit most of the fairways,” DeJohn said. “I didn't have a ton of birdies, and had just one bad hole. I kept it in play, hit it solid, and just kind of got it around.”

DeJohn, the 36-hole and 54-hole co-leader at last year’s amateur championship, has been in this situation before, trailing Dean Greyserman by five strokes after the opening 18 holes. By the final round, he had put himself squarely in contention.

“Not a lot of these events are four round events, so you just have to stay consistent and know that there are a lot more holes to make up if you make any mistakes,” DeJohn said. “I think going into tomorrow and hopefully the next couple rounds, it's just staying patient and trying to let the putter work.”

Two members of the final group were unable to finish the 18th hole due to lightning in the area. Doug Ergood (E) and Michael Stamberger (+1) will return the 18th green to putt out Wednesday morning.

Second round action at Essex Fells will begin at 7 a.m. Wednesday morning. Following the second round, the top-40 and ties will advance to Thursday’s 36-hole conclusion.

Coverage of the 120th NJSGA Amateur Championship presented by Provident Bank will be available at NJSGA.org, where live scoring, news, and recaps will be featured throughout the week. Fans and players can also follow the organization on its social media outlets at Facebook.com/njsga1900, @NJSGA1900 on Twitter and @njsga1900 on Instagram. 

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