Brendan Davis of Fiddler’s Elbow and Thomas Urciuoli of Baltusrol each fired founds of 3-under-par 69 to share medalist honors at a NJSGA Amateur qualifier on Wednesday, May 17, at 6,402-yard Copper Hills Country Club in Ringoes.
Davis and Uricuoli led a group of 17 golfers from the field of 104 who shot 74 or better to qualify for the 116th State Amateur, which will be contested June 6-8 at Tavistock Country Club in Haddonfield. The event was the second of three qualifiers with the final set for next Thursday, May 25, at Riverton C.C.
Joseph Hughes of Little Mill shot one-under 71 and Jason Bataille of Neshanic Valley even par 72.
Davis, 22, on Monday graduated from Seton Hall University where he played club golf. He made it to the National Collegiate Club Golf Association championship in the fall of 2015 at TPC San Antonio.
Davis has only been serious about golf for four years after playing baseball, primarily as a pitcher at Somerville High School.
He was familiar with Copper Hill, having played several rounds with a member, his friend Evan Fraser.
“I had a game plan today. I hit three wood off the par fours and driver off the par fives. I’ve been hitting it pretty good for the past few weeks,” said Davis, who carded six birdies and three bogeys. “I knew if I hit the fairways, the rest of it would take care of itself. My putter and irons were on today.”
A few tips from Ryan Snouffer, a classmate at Seton Hall who is playing on the PGA Tour Canada, also helped. Davis has caddied for Snouffer in several local events.
Davis and Snouffer were medalist at NJSGA Four-Ball qualifying at Raritan Valley last summer. He played in the 2015 State Amateur.
“I shot seven under on my ball that day, so that was my best round of competitive golf,” said Davis, a finance major.
Urciuoli is a rising junior at Fairfield University. He had a stellar high school career at Oratory Prep and finished second in the Essex County Tournament to Echo Lake’s John Feliltto, who now plays at Notre Dame. He was third this year for Fairfield at the St. Peter’s Peacock Invitational at Neshanic Valley..
“Today was a great day,” said Uriciuoli, who had five birdies, four on the front side, and two bogeys. “This golf course is a little short so playing well was dependent on hitting fairways and making wedge shots. I was aggressive off the tee and was consistent with wedges into the greens.
“I tried to capitalize on that. My distance control was spot on. I had been working on my wedges so it’s a good sign that all that hard work paid off. You have to be careful because the greens are small here.”
Urciuoli came within a few inches of the second ace of his career on the 145-yard No. 14. As an eighth-grader, he aced a 178-yard hole with a hybrid at Scotland’s Gleneagles.
“I felt confident right from the warm-up. I liked everything when I looked at the golf course. I was really excited to play,” Urciuoli stated.