Noelle Maertz of Hyatt Hills survived a stretch of five-over-par on her first four holes of the back nine with a pair of late birdies and carded a three-over-par 73 to win the New Jersey State Golf Association 9thWomen’s Public Links Championship on Monday at the Knob Hill Golf Club in Manalapan.

Maertz, a recent graduate of Mother Seton Regional High School in her home town of Clark, won by two shots over Cathleen Marquis of Pinch Brook and by three shots over Courtney Kling of Hominy Hill and Karen Hansard of Neshanic Valley. A total of 54 golfers competed, up 10 from a year ago. The course played to 5,034 yards, par 70.

Maertz was 10thin the recent New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association Tournament of Champions girls tournament, sponsored by the NJSGA. She will play golf as a freshman at Wagner College next fall.

After firing an even-par 34 over the front nine with one birdie and one bogey, Maertz found trouble on the par-4, 339-yard 10thhole when her tee shot found a small brook down a gulley on the right of the fairway. She took a penalty and ended up with a double bogey. Then she proceeded to bogey the next three holes, two of them par fours and one a par three, to go five-over-par on the day.

“I thought to myself that I was letting the tournament slip away,” Maertz said. “But I knew there were still a lot of holes left to play. On this course, the fairways are narrow and there is no margin for error on your tee shots. “

She came back to birdie both of the remaining par-5s, the 14thand 16thholes, and parred the other remaining holes.

“This is the biggest thing I’ve ever won,’ said Maertz, who previously won county and league high school tournaments. “I think I’m improving on my putting and iron play.”

Next up for Maertz is a spot in the USGA Amateur qualifying at Somerset Hills on July 10, and a berth in the New Jersey Women’s Amateur at Crestmont in August.

Other winners yesterday included Hansard, overall low net (76-66), Kling, First Flight Gross (76-68) and Marquis, First Flight Net (75-67); Kelly Platt of Mercer Oaks, Second Flight Gross 78-71) and Elizabeth Kunesch of Rolling Greens, Second Flight Net (81-69); Marie Cronin-Hull of Spring Meadow, Third Flight Gross (86-68) and Nancy Goss of Hominy Hill, Third Flight Net (87-78); and Lillian Bertoldo of Colts Neck, Fourth Flight Gross (87-67) and Madeleine Herbert of Darlington, Fourth Flight Net (91-67).

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