Pictured: Isaiah Williams of Heron Glen Golf Course
RED BANK, N.J. – After darkness paused the remaining 3-for-1 playoff on Monday evening, Isaiah Williams returned to Navesink Country Club on Tuesday morning, looking to earn the final spot in the match play bracket of the 101st W.Y. Dear Junior Championship.
What originally started as a 14-for-10 playoff on Monday following stroke play eventually dwindled down to a 3-for-1 playoff on Tuesday morning between Williams, Nathan Drogin and Adrian Jordan for a berth into the match play bracket. Williams, 17, bested both Jordan and Drogin in another two playoff holes to advance.
“It was definitely a grind,” Williams said of the morning playoff. “I had to make sure I calmed down because I was tight and extremely nervous throughout the entire playoff. I tried to take it shot by shot and tried to make par because I knew par would probably keep me in it, especially on 18 because it’s a very tough hole. I stuck with it, kept my head down and played my own game.”
Following the playoff, Williams downed top seeded Barnes Blake, 1-up in the round of 16. He took his same recipe from the playoff in to his opening match. He used three birdies and a par to best Blake of Baltusrol Golf Club.
“It’s been a fun experience,” explained Williams. “I learned from the playoff on how to deal with nerves, especially in the first match, which was really tight, and going into the last hole 1-up, I just tried to follow the plan that I had in the playoff holes.”
His solid play continued through the quarterfinals as he faced 2020 W.Y. Dear Junior Champion, Thomas O’Neill. The Flemington native remained steady throughout his quarterfinal match as well, defeating O’Neill, 3&2.
“All I was thinking was to calm down, relax and look forward to the next shot,” said Williams. “In my head, I told myself to push the issue, not force the issue. I tried to hit good, smart shots. Par is definitely your friend out here. It’s (Navesink) a tough course, so I made sure to put the ball in the right spot and kept taking it shot by shot.”
The remainder of the bracket is set as the semifinals will get underway at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday. Williams will face Alex Menges of Jumping Brook Country Club and Ethan Lee will take on Reed Greyserman at 7:40 a.m.
Lee of Colts Neck Golf Club took on good friend Tyler Lee in the round of 16, winning 1-up.
“It’s fun,” Ethan Lee said of competing against Tyler Lee. “Going out there as friends and just trying to have a good time, whoever wins and plays better that day, that's just how it happens.”
In the afternoon, Lee was challenged by Isaiah Marseille, falling behind early on in the match. The tables turned as Lee notched birdies on 7, 9 and 10 to take a 1-up lead through 10 holes. Lee held on for the victory, earning his second-straight semifinal appearance in the historic championship.
“It’s going to be really tough,” Lee said of his semifinal matchup against Greyserman. “I played Cole last year, who’s a great player, so hopefully I can give him (Greyserman) a good match and be in the final.”
Greyserman, 17, is the only competitor in the semifinal group that was not apart of the 14-for-10 playoff on Monday afternoon. He finished at 1-under par in the stroke play portion of the championship. His two brothers Max (2013) and Dean (2019, ’21) are former champions and he looks to follow in their footsteps.
“No expectations but I’m very confident in myself, I know what I can do and I plan to win this week.”
Menges, 17 rounds out the semifinal contingent. His opening round match against Lance Hollingshead spanned 19 holes, punching his ticket into the quarterfinals. Menges was tested once again in the quarterfinals, closing it out on No. 17 against David McNamara of Canoe Brook Country Club.
Isaiah Williams, Heron Glen Golf Course d. Thomas O’Neill, Hackensack Golf Club, 3&2
Alex Menges, Jumping Brook Country Club d. David McNamara, Canoe Brook Country Club, 2&1
Ethan Lee, Colts Neck Golf Club d. Isaiah Marsielle, Plainfield Country Club West – 9, 1-up
Reed Greyserman, Hamilton Farm Golf Club d. Rhys Burgess, Darlington Golf Course, 6&5
Round of 16 Results
Isaiah Williams, Heron Glen Golf Course d. Barnes Blake, Baltusrol Golf Club, 1-up
Thomas O’Neill, Hackensack Golf Club d. Jake Morgan, Deer Run Golf & Tennis Club, 3&2
David McNamara, Canoe Brook Country Club d. Devan Patel, Mendham Golf & Tennis Club, 5&4
Alex Menges, Jumping Brook Country Club d. Lance Hollingshead, Trump National – Bedminster, 19 holes
Ethan Lee, Colts Neck Golf Club d. Tyler Lee, The Ridgewood Country Club, 1-up
Reed Greyserman, Hamilton Farm Golf Club d. Harry Cohen, Preakness Hills Country Club, 5&3
Rhys Burgess, Darlington Golf Course d. Patrick Scenna, Deal Golf & Country Club, 3&1
NJSGA Social Media
For the latest updates and news, visit njgsa.org or follow New Jersey State Golf Association on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @NJSGA1900.