ESSEX FELLS, N.J. - Michael Brown followed his opening round 65 with a 1-under par 69 to extend his lead to five shots at the 120th New Jersey State Golf Association Amateur Championship presented by Provident Bank. Ricky Calve owns second place at 1-under, while four others share third place at even-par after 36 holes at Essex Fells Country Club.

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“I’m driving the ball really well, and I think that’s probably been the key so far," Brown said. "My putting is pretty sound, but driving the ball is what’s getting me in scorable positions."

This is familiar territory for Brown. The champion of the 37th NJSGA Mid-Amateur Championship, Brown held the 36-hole lead at last year’s State Amateur at Arcola Country Club, before ultimately finishing tied for 11th.

 

 

“From last year and some other rounds that have recently gone by, I probably know that I’m not going to win the tournament in the third round,” Brown said. “I’m going to be aggressive with the driver, less aggressive with the irons, and try to make birdies with the putter. In the fourth round is where I’m going to have to make some game-time decisions about how aggressive I’ll be.”

Three players in Jack Irons, Doug Ergood, and Liam Pasternak shot the round of the day at 3-under par 67. 14-year old Pasternak, who earned a special exemption from the NJSGA tournament committee after lifting his second consecutive W.Y. Dear Boys Championship trophy in June, made four birdies on the back nine. Through 36 holes, he sits in a tie for third place in his first ever non-junior NJSGA event.

“I’m really excited," Pasternak expressed. "I’m just going to have to focus tomorrow. I know where the slopes are on the greens," said Pasternak, whose home course is Essex Fells. "I know where to play it, and where not to go on the greens. I can get close because of that.”

A gallery of about 20 club members, friends, and family members followed Pasternak’s group for much of the day, but the rising Morristown High School freshman remained focused on the task at hand. “I haven’t really noticed it and kept my mind off of it,” he said, smiling. “But hopefully it’s there tomorrow, too.”

 

 

Calve, of Colts Neck Golf Club made four birdies to finish 1-under par and gain solo control of second place. Pasternak, Ergood, Peter Barron, and Max O’Hagan share third at even-par. The championship will continue with 36 holes on Thursday beginning at 7 a.m. Forty-two players qualified for the third and fourth rounds.

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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