By Rick Jenkins.

WEST ORANGE, N.J. It was moving day at the State Open today. In the second round of the 89th NJSGA Open Championship at Rock Spring Club, the Professional contingent re-asserted itself with a number of veteran players climbing atop the leader board. By virtue of a three-under par 67 to accompany an opening round 68, Brett Jones of Trump National – Bedminster (135) leads by one stroke over Chris Mazzuchetti of Colonia and Chris Dachisen of North Jersey (136).

Lurking just behind the leaders is a cast of strong and tested players, including Brian Gaffney of Rumson (138), Greg Baker of Rockaway River (138), Jakob Gerney of Old York (138), Frank Esposito, Jr. of Brooklake (140), Brent Studer of Manasquan River (141), Mark Schaare of Glenwood (141), and Bill Britton of Trump National – Colts Neck (142).

Amateurs Michael Deo of High Bridge Hills (141) and Tom Gramigna of Tavistock (141), who occupied the 1-2 positions after the opening round on Tuesday, lost ground in the second round with 74 and 73, respectively. With a round of 68 today, Gregg Angelillo of Montclair climbed the leader board is now the low amateur in seventh place (140).

Rock Spring has played tough despite its modest length of 6,555 yards. The course is firm and therefore play must be managed carefully. While firm fairways and the hilly, bumpy terrain can throw drives off line and into the rough, it is play around the greens that is the most exacting and likely will determine tomorrow’s champion. Fast, undulating greens protected by deep, fescue-rimmed bunkers stand out as the defining features of Rock Spring’s design and its tenacity. Bursts of wind during the afternoon also caused players to think carefully about their shotmaking.

Tomorrow’s final round will conclude this 54-hole, stroke play event. Fifty-four players from a starting field of 125 players made the cut at 148, or eight over par, and will play for the C.W. Badenhousen Trophy.

Photos by James N. Lum.

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