GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP - One of the United States Golf Association's top amateur tournaments is coming to Galloway National Golf Club next month.
Fifty-two three-man teams - one from each state plus squads from Washingon, D.C., and Puerto Rico - will play one of the state's top courses when the 10th USGA Men's State Team Championship is held at Galloway from Sept. 19-21.
"This is our youngest championship," USGA staff representative Matt Sawicki said Tuesday at Galloway. "But it has certainly been gaining prominence. This tournament features some of the best (amateur) players each state has to offer."
The 54-hole stroke play tournament began in 1995 and was held every other year until 2009-10, when the USGA switched to even-numbered years to avoid coinciding with the Women's Team Championship.
Kansas won the last men's title, taking top honors in 2010 at Mayacama Golf Club in Santa Rosa, Calif.
This is the first time it will be held in New Jersey and is also Galloway National's first time hosting a USGA event. Since opening in 1995, the private club has hosted the New Jersey State Golf Association's Mid-Amateur Championship four times, the Men's Ivy League championship three of the last five years, plus U.S. Open qualifiers and the NCAA Eastern Regional in 2009.
This is believed to be the first USGA men's tournament to be held in the area since the U.S. Public Links championship at the now-defunct Blue Heron Pines East Course in 2003. Brandt Snedeker, who is now a star on the PGA men's tour, won that tournament.
"We're thrilled to be hosting a USGA event," Galloway National director of golf Mike Killian said.
New Jersey has never won the men's team tournament. Its best finish was a tie for fourth in 2001 at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota. In 2010, New Jersey finished 23rd.
This year's squad includes Niall Handley of Essex Fells Country Club (Essex County), Brian Komline of Black Oak Golf Club (Morris) and Mike Stamberger of Spring Lake Golf Club (Monmouth). Komline won the state Mid-Amateur at Galloway National earlier this year, thus becoming the first golfer to win all five NJSGA majors: the State Open, State Amateur, State Mid-Amateur, Men's Public Links and Men's Four-Ball championship. They were chosen by using the NJSGA Player of the Year points list. Bob Housen will serve as honorary captain.
Galloway National figures to be a tough test. The Tom Fazio course is known as one of the state's most picturesque and difficult courses. The course will play between 6,932 and 6,963 yards for the tournament. Sawicki explained that the rough will be grown to three inches and the greens will average between 11 and 11.5 feet on the Stimpmeter. The Stimpeter measures the speed of a golf course putting green and according to USGA recommendations anything above an 8.5 is fast.
"We want to present a very hard, but very fair test," Sawicki said. "It will be a physical and mental challenge for the players."
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