Picturesque Manasquan River Golf Club, which has hosted USGA and New Jersey PGA tournaments, is home to the State Open for the first time in history.

The 92ndNew Jersey State Golf Association Open Championship is set for next Tuesday through Thursday (July 10-12) when the 54-hole, stroke-play tournament takes place at the Brielle-based course. The 1990 U.S. Junior Girls Championship and the 2006 New Jersey PGA championship were played at Manasquan River.


Manasquan River head professional Brent Studer, a two-time State Open runner-up and fourth-place (tie) finisher last year, and special invitee Bob Housen of Manasquan River, winner of six New Jersey State Golf Association Amateur championships, lead the field of 126 golfers into the State Open.

Studer, an NJPGA section champion, seeks to become the first host pro to win since Russell Helwig, Studer’s mentor, did it in 1982 at Essex Fells. Housen was named a “Special Invitee” by the NJSGA Board of Trustees and is among 48 exempt players who will participate.Six other Manasquan River representatives, including Housen’s son Chris, are included in the field of 71 professionals, 54 amateurs and one applicant for reinstatement.

Former State Open champions Brian Gaffney of Rumson (2010) and Mark McCormick of Suburban (2008) played in the recent U.S. Open at San Francisco’s Olympic Club. Gaffney was 15thin the National Club Pro championship in June and earned a spot in the upcoming PGA Championship at Kiawah Island.In all, 13 former champions will be present when the State Open tees off on Tuesday.

After the second day of action, and a total of 36 holes are played, the field will be cut to the top 50 players plus ties, setting up an 18-hole final on Thursday. A total of 454 golfers competed in four qualifiers throughout the state, with 79 of them qualifying into the starting field.

The defending champion is Kevin Foley of Neshanic Valley who won the State Open in 2011 at the Hollywood Golf Club in Deal. Foley, who is not participating in the State Open, is currently one of the top mini-tour players, garnering two seventh-place finishes on the Nationwide Tour, and a victory and a runner-up spot on the eGolf Tour.

“We are proud to have the State Open contested at the beautiful and challenging Manasquan River Golf Club for the first time, and to return to Monmouth County for a second straight year,” said NJSGA president Thomas McGovern, noting the 2013 State Open will be played at the Hackensack Golf Club.

“Manasquan River, designed by Robert White and opened in 1923, is singular in the state for its contrasting characteristics that include the highest point on the Atlantic Seaboard between Atlantic Highlands and Florida, along with majestic waterfront views of the Manasquan River,” McGovern said. “Spectators are encouraged to watch the action and walk the fairways at the Jersey Shore, free of charge.”

Besides Gaffney and McCormick, other former champions include a pair of four-time winners in David Glenz of Black Oak (’84, ’86, ’88, ’90) and Ed Whitman of Knickerbocker (’91, ’95, ’96, ’04), who last month won the NJPGA Charity Clambake at Rockaway River.Two-time champion Brian Komline of Black Oak (’05, ’07) won his first State Mid-Amateur in May to become the first to win all four state majors, is also in the field.

One-time champions include Chris Dachisen of North Jersey (’01), John DiMarco of Laurel Creek (’00), Frank Esposito Jr. of Brooklake (’99), Greg Farrow of Deerwood (’03), Brett Jones of Trump National-Bedminster (’09), Baker Maddera of Rock Spring (’02), Gary Ostrega of Hyatt Hills (’85) and Steve Sieg of Navesink (’89).

Participant Mike Burke of Montammy, who has never won the State Open, but is one of the state’s most decorated golfers as a six-time NJPGA Player of the Year currently sits atop the NJPGA Player of the Year standings. Burke this year has won the NJPGA Match-Play Championship and was runner-up in the NJSGA/NJPGA Senior Open.

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