Michael Stamberger of Spring Lake, Ron Vannelli of Forsgate and Steve Zychowski of Mendham won individual matches for the team representing the New Jersey State Golf Association, but the Golf Association of Philadelphia ruled the day in the 55th Compher Cup matches on Wednesday, April 27, the Metedeconk National Golf Club in Jackson.
GAP, which hosted the event, defeated NJSGA, 14-4, for its biggest win since a decisive 15.5-2.5 victory in 2000. The widest margin was 16-2 by GAP in 1982.
GAP leads the series, 36-13-5. The Compher Cup began in 1962 with the NJSGA winning at Hollywood G.C. in Deal. The 2005 event was canceled due to weather.
Stamberger defeated former NJSGA State Open champion Benjamin Smith of Huntingdon Valley, 6 and 5; Vannelli, the NJSGA captain, bested Bill Jeremiah of Bidermann, 4 and 3, and Zychowski defeated David West of Applecross, 2 up. Stamberger and partner Nick Desai of Baltusrol earned a team point with a 1 up victory over Smith and Patrick Ross of Hunstville.
The squads compete annually as 12-man teams. In Compher Cup play, all 12 players from each side square off in individual matches and simultaneously in four-ball matches for a total of 18 points at stake.
This year’s NJSGA squad was captained by Vannelli , one of six players returning from the 2015 team. Other returnees include Jason Bataille of Metedeconk National, Desai, Brian Komline of Black Oak, Stamberger and Zychowski .
The other six team members are Michael Brown of Pennsauken, Bill Charpek of Navesink, Matt Finger of Darlington, Mike Hyland of Little Mill, Peter Kozubal of Fox Hollow and Trevor Randolph of Arcola.
All except Brown, Kozubal and Randolph have previously played in Compher Cup matches. Vannelli leads the way, making his 18th appearance, followed by Komline (10), Stamberger (9), Charpek (8), Finger (4), Desai (3), Zychowski (3), Bataille (2) and Hyland (2).
Bob Housen of Manasquan River, winner of six State Amateurs and 32-time Compher Cup participant, served as honorary captain for the NJSGA.
"Metedeconk is proud to have hosted a number of prominent events over the years. Among these are the New Jersey State Open in 1994 - and coming again in 2017 - the MGA’s Ike Championship in ’96, the Met Open in ’03, New Jersey PGA Championship in 2011, the Carey Cup in 1990 and also in the Fall of ’15 and the Ivy League Men’s Championship from 2000-2004 and again just last week. We’re honored now to include the prestigious Compher Cup on this list," said Bob Lerner, Metedeconk National golf chairman.
"The Compher Cup matches were contested over the Second and First Nines, in a rotation known as the Founders’ Course. One noted golf architect described the layout as “beautifully difficult.” We think it offers everything you could possibly want in a championship course, in terms of design elements and challenge, as well as overall aesthetics. After today’s exciting competition, we hope you agree," Lerner added.
In 2015, the GAP and the NJSGA met in the 54th Compher Cup matches, with the teams battling to an 9-9 draw at Bayonne Golf Club. The draw enabled GAP to retain the Cup, which it had won the previous year at Aronimink Golf Club outside Philadelphia, 9-1/2 – 8-1/2.
In 2015 at Bayonne, Dan Levinson of Bayonne and Jay Blumenfeld of Mountain Ridge comprised the final group and came home with all three points needed to help the NJSGA attain the draw vs. GAP. Other individual winners for NJSGA were two-time State Amateur champion Stamberger, Zychowski,. Desai and Stephen Ellis of Toms River, a Compher Cup rookie. Desai and Ryan Chin of Arcola won their Four-Ball match, 2 and 1.
The Compher Matches are named for Frederic M. Compher, who donated a silver cup in 1959, leading to the start of competition in 1962 between the two associations. The teams play simultaneous Four-Ball and Singles matches.
In 2013 at Galloway National, the NJSGA defeated GAP, 10.5 to 7.5, for its first victory since 2009.
Fred Compher, a former New Jersey State Golf Association president, conceived the neighborhood matches after leaving his post in 1959. Compher donated a silver trophy that year earmarked for such a rivalry.
The inaugural Compher up matches took place in 1962 with the NJSGA claiming an 11.5-6.5 victory.
After the New Jersey victory, Compher, who was known at the time as the most innovative NJSGA president in its history, presented the trophy “to promote golf between the groups.”
In 1961, association representatives Bob Jacobson of New Jersey and Richard Ollmah of GAP completed the details. In 1962, the first Compher Cup matches took place. That year, the NJSGA side forged a 5–1 lead in the morning foursomes’ competitions and held serve in the afternoon singles matches for an 11.5-6.5 victory.
After New Jersey’s victory, Compher, who was known at the time as the most successful NJSGA president in its history, presented the trophy “to promote golf between the groups.”
Metedeconk National Golf Club is nestled in the upper region of the New Jersey Pinelands, atop one of the highest spots in central New Jersey. The 27-hole facility was designed by world-renowned golf course architects Robert Trent Jones, Sr. and Roger Rulewich. The club was created as a golfing oasis, a departure from the hustle and bustle of New York City and Philadelphia, each of which is within one hour's drive.