Five years ago, Samantha Perrotta of Old York Country Club won the New Jersey State Golf Association’s Women’s Public Links Championship.

On Tuesday, she took a larger step forward by winning the 5th NJSGA Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship at the par-73, 5,752-yard Essex County Country Club in West Orange, shooting a two-under-par 73-71-144, eight strokes better than runner-up Donna McHugh of Upper Montclair Country Club.

In the concurrent stroke-play portion of the NJSGA Women’s Amateur Championship, defending champion Kelly Sim earned medalist honors for the second straight year, firing one of the lowest scores ever in this event, a nine-under-par 66-71-137.

She will enter the Women’s Amateur match-play as the top seed today, when the Round of 16 and quarterfinals will be contested. On Thursday, the semifinals and final take place. Last year’s runner-up, Yeji Shin of Valley Brook Golf Course, is the No. 2 seed after shooting two-under-par 69-75-144. Perrotta is the third seed while Haley Bookholdt of Old York is the fourth seed based on her 70-75-145.

WOMEN'S AM LEADERBOARD WOMEN'S MID-AM LEADERBOARD

MATCH-PLAY PAIRINGS PHOTO GALLERY

Perrotta’s Mid-Amateur victory doesn’t tell half the story of her rise in the world of golf. Perrotta has thrived in golf as an individual with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). Perrotta, a resident of Bordentown, has already won four times this summer in Golf Association of Philadelphia events.

Last year, Perrotta won the Women’s GAP Tournament of Champions and she won the Executive Cup at the Vidanta Resort in Nuevo Vallarte, Mexico, shooting 144 in two rounds on courses designed by Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman.

In 2016, Perrotta was the medalist at the U.S. Mid-Amateur qualifier at Echo Lake Country Club in Westfield. Perrotta has also competed on the Symetra Tour, the developmental tour for the LPGA.

Things took a change for the better four years ago when she began working with Geoff Jones of Texarkana, Texas, who has a facility in Warwick, N.Y. Jones is known in internet circles as the “Slicefixer.”

“The biggest thing he changed for me was my rotation,” Perrotta said. Jones said his pupil had “a very flat swing.”

“Samantha puts in the work. It’s very rewarding to see her improve. She’s much happier in her life,” said Jones, who was on hand at Essex County. “Seeing her come out of her shell and being able to handle life easier is cool to watch,” he said.

“The greens were nice and smooth here. They rolled real nice. I was able to read them and I had a lot of fun out here,” she said.

After eight birdies in Monday’s first round of stroke-play, the Northwestern University-bound Sim, 18, added four more birdies and an eagle on Tuesday.

“I really like playing on Tillinghast courses like this one,” said Sim, who recently placed T-17 at the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship. In late May, Sim, a resident of Edgewater, won a record-tying third NJSIAA Girls Championship as a member of the Holy Angels Academy team.

“I feel like this summer, I’m getting ready for college golf. I’m definitely making more putts and I have better course management,” she said.

Sim faces Marissa Broderick of Shackamaxon Country Club in the Round of 16 Wednesday morning at 7:15 a.m.

 

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