Back in 2005, Tom Gramigna edged Jamie Slonis for the NJSGA Mid-Amateur championship. Now, the duo often combine to compete in various four-ball competitions. They have yet to win one.

On Wednesday, May 2, Gramigna and Slonis, both of Tavistock, took a step toward winning one as they claimed a 7 and 5 victory over Brian and Casey Sullivan of Navesink to advance to the semifinals of the 86thNJSGA Four-Ball Championship at Rumson Country Club in Rumson. The match-play bracket Live Scoring is presented by NJM Insurance.

They will be joined in the semifinals by medalists Edmund Broderick of Shackamaxon and Stephen Ellis of Toms River, who beat Jim Dufficy of Hominy Hill and Mike Paduano of Eagle Oaks, 1 up; high-school teammates Brendan Hansen of Spring Lake and Randall Lazzaro of Trump National at Colts Neck, who defeated Brendan Jonland of Arcola and Bill Bello of Mercer Oaks, 5 and 4, and Eric Lasota of Colts Neck and Reid Bedell of Manasquan River, who ousted Dennis Devine and David Iwan of Rumson, 3 and 1.


In Thursday morning’s semifinals, Slonis and Gramigna will face top-seeded Broderick and Ellis at 7:30 a.m. , followed by Hansen and Lazzaro against Lasota and Bedell.

“This was all about Jamie today. He did most of the scoring for us. I had an eagle on No. 2 and a birdie and Jamie had four birdies,” said Gramigna, 48, who won NJSGA Mid-Amateur championships in 2002, 2003 and 2005 and the NJSGA Amateur championship in 2008. Slonis was Mid-Amateur runner-up in 2005 and 2006.

The two have previously played as a team in the U.S. Four-Ball qualifier this year and in the Golf Association of Philadelphia Four-Ball two years ago, where they placed second.

“At Rumson, you have to hit the fairway because the course is playing so firm and fast. In order to control the spin on the approach shot and hit your spots, you have to hit from the fairway,” said Slonis, 49.

Broderick celebrated his 16th birthday by draining a 50-foot birdie putt on the par-3 No. 14 to help his team go two up. They never lost the lead after that and closed out the match with a par on No. 18.

“I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my birthday,” said Broderick, a resident of Bayonne who attends St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City. “After we became medalists yesterday, it showed we could play. I thought we would play well today. We just want to come out and do well.

“The greens were tough. The pin placements were tough,” he said.

“We don’t get upset if we hit a bad shot. We know when to lag it and when to be aggressive. Edmund is hitting his tee shots very well, hitting it 300 yards, easy, and all day long,” said Ellis, 47, who played doubles tennis at Rowan University with Edmund’s father, David.

Hansen, 18, and Lazzaro, 16, are teammates at defending state champion Christian Brothers Academy. This is the first time they have paired up for a four-ball event.

“Our strategy is to let me have the first drive, then Brendan can just let it go,” said Lazzaro, a junior at CBA. “We didn’t make mistakes in the afternoon. We played well, and I hope we can keep up the momentum.”

Hansen and Lazzaro had an added advantage by having Rumson member Chris Gotterup, a Rutgers freshman and former CBA golfer, serve as caddie.

“Chris helped by telling us where to hit the ball. Obviously, he’s played here so many times and the first time I played here was yesterday,” said Hansen, who placed third in the State Open last summer. “The rough was thick and the greens were fast and pure.”

Lasota, 33, and Bedell, 20, are teammates for the second year in a row, reaching the quarterfinals last year at Green Brook. Lasota reached the semifinals in 2009 with Brendan O’Brien as a partner .

“We’re not feeling any pressure. We have good chemistry. In four-ball, there’s a lot of strategy, it’s just not about hitting the ball,” Lasota said. “We let Reid hit first for the most part. We try to have two balls on the green on every hole.”

Bedell, who plays on the golf team at the University of South Carolina-Upstate in Spartansburg, was state high school champion out of Rumson High School two years ago.

“We picked up each other all day. After playing college golf, it’s nice to get back to playing golf with a partner,” he said.

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