PHOTO: Senior Four-Ball champions, from left, Tom DiCinti and Mike Decker of Mercer Oaks Golf Course

Tom DiCinti and Mike Decker of Mercer Oaks Golf Course combined for a score of four-under-par 67 to win the New Jersey State Golf Association’s 23rd Senior Four-Ball Championship by one shot over three teams on Wednesday, October 10, at the Maplewood Country Club.

DiCinti and Decker, who have each won previous NJSGA events, were one shot better than the teams of Steve Mauer of Metuchen Golf & Country Club and Ron Vannelli of Forsgate Country Club, Tom Avers and Jeff Kortina of Neshanic Valley Golf Course and James Wolklin and Tony Morelli of Stanton Ridge Golf & Country Club.

In the net division, Wolklin and Morelli also won by an eyelash, taking first place with a net score of eight-under-par 63 followed by seven teams at 64. Wayne Levine and Steven Fried of Mountain Ridge Country Club, and William Dahn of Maplewood and Gary Cahn of Watchung Valley Golf Club came in second based on a match of cards.

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“We didn’t realize it at the time, but my par save out of a bunker on our final hole, the par-four No. 5, was the one that eventually allowed us to win by one shot,” said DiCinti, 69, who won the NJSGA Senior Four-Ball with Doug Fraser in 2005. DiCinti, then playing out Little Mill Country Club, also won the NJSGA Senior Amateur in 2013 and has been runner-up in that event three times.

“We left two or three shots out there and didn’t think four-under was good enough to win,” said Decker, 56, who won the NJSGA Ultimate Team Event with Jim Schulz in both 2016 and 2017. “We played with the guys (Wolklin and Morelli) who won the low net, so we pushed each other,” Decker added.

Individually, Decker, who hit 13 greens, recorded four birdies and DiCinti two. They both birdied the par 4 No. 2. One bogey, on the par-4 No. 4, their next-to-last hole, brought them back to four under par. “The greens rolled very true, but they were hard to read. That’s why the scores weren’t as low as they could be,” said DiCinti, who has won three club championships and six senior club championships at various courses over the years.

The two winners know each other’s game well. They have played together as a team in several Golf Association of Philadelphia events, and in 2017, Decker beat DiCinti in the final of the senior club championship at Old York Country Club in Chesterfield.

“I like playing with Tom because he’s calm and helpful. There’s no ego and there’s no pressure. You can just go out and play your game,” Decker said.

Said DiCinti of Decker: “Mike’s an unassuming player. He’s got a very steady game. Before you realize it, he’s a couple under par. He can beat the best players out there.”

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