RINGOES, N.J. – Following 18 holes of action at the 102nd New Jersey Open Championship Presented by Donnelly Industries, 22-year-old amateur Jason Salameno leads the 109-player field at The Ridge at Back Brook.

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The North Jersey Country Club product notched a bogey-free 3-under par 68 on the 6,925-yard par 71. Salameno carded birdies on holes 7 through 9.

“I had everything going today,” Salameno recalled. “My irons were hitting in the middle of green, I was making putts when I needed to and just driving the fairway.”

 

 

Defending champion, Tyler Hall turned in a 2-under par 69 on Monday morning. The three-time champion tallied two birdies and a blemish-free round.

“I just played really solid,” explained Hall, a teaching professional at Upper Montclair Country Club. “After going through my round, I realized I pretty much hit 18 greens. I think I missed one green by about six inches. I drove it really well, hit it great. My irons were spot on today. I just didn't make any putts to be honest. I think I hit wedge into 18 there and had it 20 feet and then had a three putt for par. That was a little deflating to finish, but, I played really solid, really steady, had a ton of looks all day. I’m feeling pretty good.”

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Overall, 11 players are within three strokes of the lead. Along with Hall, four other competitors finished at 2-under par.

Brent Paladino, Senior Director of Championship Administration at the United States Golf Association (USGA) joins that list of golfers that are 2-under par.

“It was definitely hard out there with the wind,” said Paladino, an NJPGA member. “It felt like it switched a few times and, definitely was a grind. So I just felt like I was really good about just trying to hit to the, the fat part of the green and just make a lot of pars,”

Paladino, 35, has spent the last two weeks on the road for the USGA, most recently at the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship in Kentucky. 

“My expectations were pretty low,” said Paladino. “Sometimes it helps if you're not expecting to come out and shoot 3 or 4 under, you're just going about your business and that's kind of the way I felt it was today. Just tried to go out and play solid and kind of see what happens.”

Making history as the first two women to play in the championship, 2021 Women’s Amateur Champion Ami Gianchandani and Eagle Ridge head golf professional Rylee Plitz carded a 78 (+7) and a 79 (+8), respectively.

The second round of the 102nd Open Championship will continue at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning. Pairings and tee times can be found here. After the completion of 36 holes, the field is cut to the low 40 scorers plus ties for the final round.

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