November 4, 2020 - Samantha Perrotta of Old York turned a corner four years ago that has made her the formidable player she is today. Diagnosed with autism (Autism Spectrum Disorder), she had struggled to remain calm during tournament play which can add stress to any golfer’s psyche.

“The thing I’m most proud of is being able to get through the panic-stuff on the golf course. I couldn’t finish rounds because it was too hard mentally. About four years ago, I was struggling, and shot over 90 in a USGA Amateur qualifier. But I pushed through and finished the round. After that, everything turned out to be easy,” she said.

That determination – along with marked improvement to her game through a commitment to her coaches’ teachings – has culminated in Perrotta winning the 2020 NJSGA Women’s Player of the Year.

Now an accomplished tournament performer, Perrotta enjoyed perhaps her finest season – just one season after winning the Women’s Golf Association of Philadelphia (WGAP) Class A POY honor. In 2020, she won four championships including the NJSGA Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship at Morris County Golf Club and the South Jersey Cup at Atlantic City C.C.  She was won the WGAP Stroke Play and WGAP Match Play championships.

“I’ve been working on all parts of my game.  I try to be consistent every time I play. For sure, my putting has improved. It was terrible. Now it’s good. And everything else has been pretty good, too,” stated the proud Perrotta.

She has accrued a list of achievements since she began testing herself in competition in 2013. That year, she won the NJSGA Women's Public Links Championship, the South Jersey Golf Association’s Arlene Cherwien Cup and the SJGA Amateur crown.

In 2015, Perrotta won the Howe Cup, a two-day tournament held on Merion’s East and West Courses. And the next year, she was the medalist at the U.S. Mid-Amateur qualifier at Echo Lake Country Club in Westfield.

In 2017, Perrotta shot 2-under par to win the WGAP Tournament of Champions at Waynesborough C.C. and she notched the Executive Cup at the Vidanta Resort in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico, shooting 144 in two rounds on courses designed by Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman.

She competed in the National Women's Golf Association (formerly The Suncoast Tour) in Florida for three months during the winter of 2017. Perrotta has also competed in several Symetra Tour events (which is the developmental tour for the LPGA). In 2018, Perrotta was undefeated (16-0) in WGAP team matches.

“My coaches have helped me tremendously,” Perrotta said. “Dick Smith got me feeling more confident. He also helped me hit the ball more solidly – and I still use the bunker technique that he taught me. Geoff Jones took me to a higher level of playing. He made me feel better about myself overall. He always believes in me.”

Determined by a structure which assigns point values to high finishes in numerous state, regional, and national championships and invitational events, the Women’s Player of the Year award honors the best female NJSGA golfer. The NJSGA Women’s POY was first awarded in 2014; its inaugural recipient was Alice Chen. This year, Perrotta gained a total of 475 points – 75 more than second place finisher and NJSGA Women’s Amateur Champion Eunice Kim of White Beeches Golf and Country Club.

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