September 21, 2020 - With 14 appearances in USGA championships, and a number of metropolitan area championships, Forsgate’s Ron Vannelli is certainly one of New Jersey’s most prolific senior golfers.

But other than winning the 2011 Tournament of Club Champions, Vannelli has struggled to reach the peak when it came to NJSGA events, claiming four runner-up finishes in three different men’s championships.

On Monday, Vannelli fired a two-over-par 73 and won the 10th NJSGA Super-Senior Championship presented by the NJM Insurance Group at the par-71, 6,251-yard Forsgate Country Club in Monroe. Jay Blumenfeld of Mountain Ridge and Spencer Foxworth of Deal tied for second place, each with a 77. Two-time champion Jim Byer of Springdale was fourth with a 78.

Scoring

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“It feels great to finally win an NJSGA championship that has some relevance,” said Vannelli, 72, who also won a Society of Seniors championship in 2016. “The funny thing is, everything I’ve won happened after the age of 50. You could say I’m a late bloomer.”

For the record, Vannelli has appeared in six U.S. Senior Amateurs, five U.S. Mid-Amateurs, two U.S. Senior Opens, and one U.S. State Team event. He has won five Metropolitan Golf Association titles including the Met Amateur, two Met Senior Amateurs and two Met Senior Masters championships.

He has won four New York City Amateurs (Senior Division), and last summer won the Senior Divisions of the Nassau Invitational and Schiavone Cup at Forsgate. In NJSGA events, he was runner-up in the 1999 Mid-Amateur, the 2007 Amateur (co-runner-up) and the 2009 and 2012 Senior Amateur.

How does he do it?

“I like to keep playing well and I like to compete. It keeps me young,” said Vannelli, a native of South Plainfield who graduated the University of Kentucky. He didn’t play golf until age 24. “My chipping and putting has always been my strong point. I’ve worked on that endlessly.

He won Monday’s Super-Senior despite the fact that he had an ailing groin muscle, dating back six weeks.

“I took some pain killers and triple taped it up. It took me nine holes to start feeling better. Then, I was able to rotate better,” said Vannelli, who shot one-under-par 34 on the back nine with three birdies and two bogeys. He birdied the par-4, 16th with a wedge shot to two feet, and the par-3, 17th with a hybrid off the tee that ended four feet from the hole. He carded four bogeys with one birdie on the front nine.

“The golf course was great. I love playing here when it’s hard and fast like today,” said Vannelli, who has won four club championships in his eight years at Forsgate. “Any extra roll I can get helps me because I’m a shorter hitter. The greens were absolutely perfect and rolled really fast, which is the way I like it.”

Be sure to follow the action on Tuesday and Wednesday from Suburban Golf Club in Union, which will host the 62nd Senior Championship presented by the NJM Insurance Group. Live scoring, photos, and a full recap after round 1 will be available at NJSGA.org.

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