Somerset County welcomes 118th Amateur Championship to Neshanic Valley
Pictured: Bob Ransone, Dot Paluck, Eric Houseknecht, John Fagan, Andrew Hojnowski and Bill Frese
The Somerset County Park Commission welcomed the 118th NJSGA Amateur Championship presented by Provident Bank at a gala reception on Thursday night, June 27, at the clubhouse at Neshanic Valley Golf Course in Neshanic Station.
Nearly 75 guests attended the festivities which previewed the Amateur Championship which will take place at Neshanic Valley on July 9-11, marking only the second time a public golf course will host the event.
State Senator Kip Bateman was among the guests that included members of the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Somerset County Park Commission, among others.
Bob Ransone, Somerset County Deputy Director of Golf Management acted as emcee while Geoff Soriano, the county’s secretary-treasury provided a look back at the rich history of Somerset County’s five courses, including Neshanic Valley.
“Somerset County has been extremely active with the NJSGA, the MGA and the USGA, and we treasure all of our relationships. We have hosted many events here, including the U.S. Women’s National Amateur Public Links Championship in 2012,” Ransone said.
“We are extremely honored to host this 2019 NJSGA Amateur Championship.”
Last year, Neshanic Valley hosted the NJSGA Junior Girls and Boys Championships and has hosted many other NJSGA championships and qualifiers over the years.
“This is a world-class facility and it is second to none in New Jersey,” said NJSGA president Bill Frese. “We’re very proud of the 26 championship that we conduct, particularly the Amateur Championship, which is our oldest championship and one of the oldest in the United States,”
In speaking of the Amateur Championship, NJSGA president Bill Frese referred to the mission statement executed by the 10 founding clubs of the NJSGA 119 years ago which indicated that the NJSGA was formed “to promote, support, and ensure the quality, the traditions, and development of golf in New Jersey. Our board recognizes its responsibility to meet the challenges of the mission statement.”
“Meeting that challenge includes working with the USGA to expand the game of golf in New Jersey and supporting our two golf related charitable foundations, the Caddie Scholarship Foundation and the Youth Foundation, both of which encourage the involvement of young men and young women in golf,” Frese stated.
He cited past Amateur champions, including NJSGA Hall of Famer Jerry Travers, who won the 1915 U.S. Open. “After their amateur days, many winners of the Amateur have gone on to play professionally throughout the world and some have become PGA professionals at some of the most prestigious clubs in the world. I‘d like to note that three former champions are in the field, including our reigning NJSGA Player of the Year Thomas LaMorte, who won this event in 2016.”
Frese complimented Somerset County director of golf maintenance Darrell Marcinek, and Neshanic Valley manager of golf maintenance Andrew Hojnowski for the condition of the fairways tees and greens in advance of the Amateur Championship.
“I’d like to thank all those from the Board of Chosen Freeholders from Somerset County and the members of the Park Commission for the great support they have shown.”
In closing, Frese identified Ransone and park commissioner Dot Paluck as particularly strong advocates of golf in the county and the state.