Six teams primed for Bud Foley Cup Finals at Mendham
The fifth season of the New Jersey State Golf Association’s Adrian M. “Bud” Foley Cup reaches its pinnacle tomorrow (Wednesday, Oct. 23) when the six section winners square off in the championship at Mendham Golf and Tennis Club.
Known widely as the NJSGA Senior Interclub Championship, Deal, Echo Lake, Forest Hill, Baltusrol, Oak Hill and Metedeconk National all claimed sectional titles over the seven-week season that began on Sept. 1. Sectional play consisted of three four-ball, match-play rounds against the other clubs in the section. The team captains chose eight players to compete in a section play match.
Two “A” four-ball teams and two “B” four-ball teams. Any senior golfer was eligible to play in the “A” division but golfers needed a minimum 8.0 handicap index to compete on a “B” squad.
All matches were played at scratch. Points were awarded on a Nassau scoring basis for each match (1 point front 9 match, 1 point back 9 match, 1 point 18-hole match). The team from each section with the highest point total will advanced to tomorrow’s Championship. Each section had four teams with the lone exception of Section 3, a five-team section, which was won by Forest Hill.
The Championship round is an 18-hole Four-Ball, Stroke Play event where each of the section champions send eight players to compete. The winner will emerge with the low cumulative score of the four Four-Ball teams.
In its fifth season, previous champions are Royce Brook (2018), Metedeconk National (2017), Oak Hill (2016) and Upper Montclair (2015).
The Senior Interclub Matches are the brainchild of NJSGA executive director Kevin Purcell, who at 56 years old is representing his club, Forest Hill, for the first time. The Senior Interclub Matches are for golfers 55 and older, who compete with handicaps of under 15.0.
“The concept is for the NJSGA to reach into its member clubs a little deeper, to reach the golfer who is not necessarily playing in our championships,” Purcell stated.
“The players really appreciate that the NJSGA is conducting this event. It is a great opportunity to meet other players and play other courses around New Jersey. I’ve heard countless compliments about the hospitality of the host teams and the friendships formed between players.”
“The guys who participate in this can’t stop talking about it. The thing is, we want more clubs to compete. The time and effort put in by the team captains to schedule these matches is significant but all say it is well worth it in the end,” Purcell added.
“We try to use as many players as we can. Everybody wants to play. We find that the happier players are, the better they play. We don’t care about putting out our best team. We want all the players to experience it,” said Dennis Spiegel, Forest Hill’s captain.
“It’s often a challenge to hook up with the other teams. Some matches are easier to schedule then others, but generally everybody treats each other well. There’s food and drinks after the match and the camaraderie is great,” Spiegel noted.
Jeff Kortina has been a mainstay on Oak Hill’s team, which won the Senior Interclub championship in 2016, its first year in the event.
“We’ve been in the finals three of the past four years, so for a small club, it’s allowed us to make a little bit of a name for ourselves. Our captain, Don Hampton, and our president, Frank Abbott, do a lot of work with the logistics of the matches, and they do a good job putting teams together,” Kortina said.
“This is an opportunity for the older golfers to do something for the club. I’m going to Mendham today to check out the course and take some notes. We’re looking forward to the championship tomorrow.”
Said Jim Brown of Baltusrol, who has been on his club’s team for three years:
“It’s a great event. It allows guys to compete. Any time you can play a match play without strokes, it’s great. It’s fun to play that way. I like the concept. This allows the second-tier golfer to compete in something other than an NJSGA championship and compete without shots.
“I also like playing different clubs, golf courses that are high on the list of best clubs in the state, as well as meeting different people” Brown said.