Wilson and DeJohn Co-Lead 121st New Jersey Amateur Championship presented by Provident Bank
(L-R): Chris DeJohn, Arcola Country Club and Pat Wilson, Hamilton Farm Golf Club
DENVILLE, N.J. – Heading into the final day of the 72-hole major, two mid-amateurs in Pat Wilson and Chris DeJohn co-lead the 121st New Jersey Amateur Championship presented by Provident Bank. Rockaway River Country Club proved to be a stern test for the field on Tuesday as the average score for the day was 76.67.
Wilson, 31, shot a 1-under par 71, while DeJohn, 35, shot a 3-under par 69. DeJohn’s round was highlighted by a double eagle on No. 1, one of the first recorded on the hole in recent history, according to head golf professional Greg Baker.
“We saw it disappear, but I thought it went over a ridge,” DeJohn recalled. “It’s kind of hard to believe you dunk it from that far out, but my playing partner saw it fall in, he didn't want to say anything until I walked up there but it was really cool.”
With the wind blowing down on No. 1, DeJohn hit a solid drive off the tee. DeJohn, of Arcola Country Club had 242 yards left to the hole, he proceeded to drill a 5-iron to the left front side of the green, and it slowly filtered toward the hole.
“Kind of surreal. It was crazy,” DeJohn conveyed.
Along with his double eagle, DeJohn tallied two birdies. He bogeyed holes No. 6 and 9.
“I made a couple of bad iron shots coming in on the par 3s and bogeyed both of them,” recalled DeJohn. “If I had parred both of those, I would’ve been happy with it, but a couple of bad swings, plus not making putts, it’s a little frustrating, but the double eagle kind of makes up for it.”
Last year, DeJohn finished in seventh place at Essex Fells Country Club at the 120th New Jersey Amateur. Recently, DeJohn won the Metropolitan Golf Association Mid-Amateur Championship and the Arcola Cup.
Wilson, of Hamilton Farm Golf Club has been thriving on the golf course since leaving the professional circuit.
“The competitive juices are still flowing and it's just the magnitude of winning an Amateur Championship that's over a hundred years old that’s pretty prestigious,” Wilson explained following his round. “Just the mindset is a little different because I enjoyed playing golf prior to turning pro and then I kind of resented it a little bit, but I love playing now. I mean, it's great.”
The Andover native is no stranger to the pressure of being in contention. In 2010, Wilson finished as the runner-up in the 109th edition of the Amateur Championship, losing in a playoff to Brian Komline. After playing elite golf on both the amateur and professional level for the last decade, Wilson understands there’s plenty of golf left to play.
“A lot can happen,” said Wilson. “It sounds like we (DeJohn) might have separated ourselves a little bit, but just to be right there and with 36 holes, if you think about it, there's a couple of holes out here you're one swing away from making a big number. That’s kind of the thing that you want to eliminate out here as you do in pretty much any competitive golf, but it's still tough. You have to make sure that you're focused on every shot.”
For Wilson and DeJohn, the pair are quite familiar with one another, having competed against each other even on the professional stage, meeting on the Latin America Tour in 2014.
“It will be a lot of fun,” said Wilson of being paired with DeJohn in the final round. “I saw him on the range this morning and I said, ‘let's get that final pairing tomorrow.’ So, it sounds like we got it. It'll be fun.”
Dean Greyserman, 18, finished alone at 4-under par for the tournament. The Stanford-bound competitor shot a 1-under par 71 in the second round, which was highlighted by a blemish-free back nine after starting off rocky with two bogeys and a double bogey on the front nine.
“Yesterday I played really well, but I even thought I left a couple out there,” explained Greyserman. “Today I didn't play well at all, but I scratched pretty hard on the back, so it was good. I grinded really hard and I had a couple of birdies come in.”
Overall, eight players recorded a score of par or better for the 36 holes. A cut was made following Tuesday’s round, which advanced 43 players to the 36-hole finale on Wednesday.
The 36-hole conclusion of the New Jersey Amateur Championship will begin at 7:30 a.m. ET.
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