Zychowski, Perrotta, Vannelli victorious at South Jersey Cup
Photo (L-R): Rich Kennedy, Lisa Coe, Samantha Perrotta, Steve Zychowski, Ron Vannelli, Gail Reilly
October 6, 2020 - Steve Zychowski of Mendham fired a three-under-par 67 and won the 2nd NJSGA South Jersey Cup by two strokes over Mike Paduano of Eagle Oaks on Tuesday at the par-70, 6,545-yard Atlantic City Country Club in Northfield.
The victory by Zychowski, age 29, granted him an exemption into the 2021 NJSGA Amateur Championship. Last year, the Summit resident was runner-up in the NJSGA Mid-Amateur Championship and will again be competing in the Mid-Am next week at North Jersey Country Club in Wayne. Rounding out the top finishers in the men's division were Johnny Murphy of NJSGA eClub-South as third with a 70. Brian Whitman of Eagle Oaks was fourth on a match of cards over Jim Dufficy of Hominy Hill. Both shot 71.
In the Women’s Division, Samantha Perrotta of Old York took the gross division with a 76, followed by Lisa Coe of Ballyowen at 80 and Sue Dahabsu of Colts Neck at 86. Coe claimed the net division with a net 71, followed by Ione Jeffrey of The Shore Club with a net 73. Gail Reilly, Mickey Kane and Maureen Kelly, all of Cape May National, all carded a net 75 to share third place.
The Senior Division title went to Ron Vannelli of Forsgate, who two weeks ago won the NJSGA Super-Senior Championship. He shot an even-par 70, one stroke better than runner-up John Ward of Atlantic City and third-place finisher Frank Abbott of Oak Hill (match of cards). Abbott won the event in a playoff in 2019.
The field, including men’s amateur, mid-amateur and senior golfers and females, totaled 110 golfers, up from about 100 from the first year.
Zychowski registered two birdies on each side. His only bogey came on the par-4 seventh hole where his ball was buried in the lip of a bunker and he couldn’t save par.
“I had two good looks for birdie inside 10 feet on the first and third holes, and missed both putts. After that, I decided to allow for less break, and birdied the next hole (No. 4) from 12 feet,” said Zychowski, who won the NJSGA Tournament of Club Champions in 2015.
After that he birdied the par-5, sixth hole, from 10 feet, the par-5, 10th hole, following a lob wedge to two feet, and the par-4, 14th hole, when he lifted a sand wedge to four feet.
“My speed was really good all day and my irons were solid. It was a stress-free round. I hit 16 greens today. I played in this event last year and didn’t do so well. This is a great golf course in pristine condition. And the greens were perfect. I knew it was going to be a great day of competition,” Zychowski started.
Perrotta, who this summer won the NJSGA Women's Mid-Amateur, shot one-over par on the outgoing nine but was five-over-par on the back nine. She birdied the par-5, 10th hole to get to even par, but was five over on the final four holes, including a double bogey on the final hole. For Perrotta, who won an event at Atlantic City in 2014, she was pleased with her return.
“I got it around. That’s all that matters. I hit my driver poorly, but I was never out of position,” she said. “But it’s meaningful for me to come back here and win again.”
Last year, Vannelli struggled in the inaugural South Jersey Cup, coming in with a 92 under cold and blustery conditions
“The 92 was embarrassing for me,” said Vannelli, who has appeared in 14 USGA events. “Today was different. I hit it well, and really just had two bogeys, on No. 2, when I three-putted, and on the par-3 No. 12, when my tee shot found the bunker.
“This course is in great shape. To me, it’s one of the best courses in the state. It’s a wonderful way to continue the fine tradition of the South Jersey Golf Association.”
Proceeds from the South Jersey Cup benefit the Gail Reilly Scholarship Program that assists New Jersey high school golfers by providing grants to defray the cost of college tuition.
“I’m appreciative of everyone here today. We had 110 people and the proceeds will benefit more young golfers in South Jersey. The continuation of something I’m passionate about, especially in this year of COVID-19, will only positively affect more kids who will have the opportunity to play golf,” said Ms. Reilly, former president of the South Jersey Golf Association.
Said Rich Kennedy, NJSGA Director of Handicapping and Membership Services: “We are pleased to help the Gail Reilly Scholarship Fund. This is a great way to celebrate South Jersey golf. This is a significant tournament that honors the 50-year history and tradition of the South Jersey Golf Association.”