Matt Wirths and Randy Riley of Baltusrol combined for six birdies against only one bogey, firing a five-under-par 67 to win the 24th NJSGA Senior-Four-Ball Championship on Monday at the par-72, 6,432-yard Pine Barrens Golf Club in Jackson.
Riley and Wirths were one shot better than the tandem of Tom Avers and Jeff Kortina of Neshanic Valley. Third place went to brothers Tom and Gil McDermott of Fox Hollow, who shot 69.
In the net division, Gerald Batt and Barry Edelman claimed first place with a 63, followed by runners-up Dave Deering of Forsgate and Andrew Miller of Rossmoor with a 66 (match of cards). Third-place finishers were Joe DiBartolo of Bella Vista and Jim Murphy of Glenwood, who also shot a 66 (match of cards).
A year ago, Riley lost in a playoff to Les Stark of New Jersey National for the NJSGA Super-Senior Championship.
“We get along well and we sank some putts today. We knocked it close on most holes,” said Riley, 64, who played on the golf team at Princeton University and has won two club championships, plus two senior club championships at Baltusrol.
“I had five birdies today by getting my wedges close,” said Riley, an entrepreneur who resides in Short Hills.
The highlight birdie for the duo came on the par-3, No. 12 hole when Wirths, who played golf at Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania, sank a 20-foot birdie putt.
“The funny thing is we left a lot out there. For most of the holes, we were on in regulation and gave ourselves two good looks on the green,” said Wirths, 57, who is also an entrepreneur and lives in Morristown. Wirths is a former club president at Mendham Golf and Tennis Club and currently acts as the greens and restoration chairman at Baltusrol, overseeing a year-long project on Baltusrol’s Lower Course that will include a new irrigation system and new cooling and heating systems for the greens.
“Because we didn’t have a practice round here, we focused on hitting fairways. We were either in the fairway or in the short rough, so we had good looks for our approach shots,” Riley noted.