Suburban, Forsgate set to host Senior & Super-Senior Championships
September 17, 2020 - As the days of summer tick off the calendar and the NJSGA tournament season turns to the fall, two championships for New Jersey’s top senior male golfers highlight next week’s schedule – both set to take place at two of the state’s classic courses.
The Super-Senior Championship, presented by NJM Insurance Group, is set for Monday, September 21 at Forsgate Country Club on its famed Banks Course, located in Monroe Township. For the first time, the NJSGA Super-Senior Championship (for golfers age 65 and above) will be played at a different location and time than the Senior Amateur – a change brought about by the ongoing pandemic.
Then, on Tuesday and Wednesday, September 22 and 23, the 62nd NJSGA Senior Amateur Championship, also presented by NJM Insurance Group, will follow at the A.W. Tillinghast masterpiece – Suburban Golf Club in Union.
The decision by the NJSGA to separate the two championships was a result of the COVID-19 pandemic which forced the limitation on the size of field. Normally, the field for the combined event is 132 players, about three-quarters of them playing in the Senior Amateur and the rest in the Super-Senior. This year, a combined 140 players will be playing at the two sites, with 90 participating in the Senior Amateur at Suburban, and about 50 at the Super-Senior at Forsgate.
“We had to reduce the (Senior) field to 90 because of COVID-19 and the various safety policies we have in place,” said Brad Bardon, NJSGA Director of Championships. “We have had capacity limits and longer intervals between starting times for all of 2020 to facilitate social distancing. So, we sought the best solution so that we could accommodate as many players as possible – and we’re very thankful to Forsgate for agreeing to host the Super-Senior, at the last minute.”
Norman Lewis of Morris County, who shot two-under-par 69-71-140 to win the Senior Amateur by four strokes last year at Springdale, returns to defend the championship. Lewis continues to refine his game, as he has lowered his handicap this season by a full stroke to a 0.6 index.
“I’m playing pretty well this year,” said Lewis, who also won his club championship in 2019. “It was a great honor to win last year, and I’m looking to validate that I can keep it up. It was a great feeling to know I could win at the state level.”
Lewis is somewhat familiar with Suburban, but he noted that he has not played particularly well there in the past. He hopes that the recent improvements in his game set the stage for a repeat performance.
“My game has a lot evolved a great deal since I played there five years ago,” Lewis said. “Suburban is challenging. You’ve got to think your way around the course, so my goal is to try and figure out how to attack it.”
The current Suburban golf course was designed by legendary golf architect A.W. Tillinghast and opened for play in 1922. The par-71 course, which plays at 6,525 yards from the championship tees has most often been described as tree-lined and well-bunkered. While it is not an overly long course by today’s standards, its challenges include narrow fairways and small, undulating greens.
John O’Malley of Due Process Stable will be on hand at Forsgate to defend his 2019 Super-Senior crown which he claimed in in a two-shot victory last year at Springdale. For O’Malley, the Super-Senior Championship will have special significance going forward, as he donated a beautiful perpetual trophy in his father’s name, Jack, which will be presented to the champion each year. It will be awarded for the first time next week.
Forsgate’s Banks Course, designed by Charles Banks, is regarded as an architectural gem. Many holes of the Banks Course were inspired by some of Scotland’s legendary golf courses, and the steep and dramatic greenside bunkers are a Banks trademark.
Live scoring, full coverage and a complete recap each day for Monday’s Super-Senior Championship at Forsgate, as well as the Senior Championship at Suburban on Tuesday and Wednesday, will be available at NJSGA.org.