New Jersey golfer lands spectacular putt and stays alive at 122nd US Amateur

PARAMUS, NJ – Mark Costanza represents New Jersey’s last chance to advance to 122n/a American Amateur Championship.

The 33-year-old from Morris County putt spectacularly on his final hole in Tuesday’s second round of qualifying stroke play and it propelled him into the playoffs on Wednesday morning to advance to match play.

“It’s really satisfying to do that one at the end,” said Costanza, the U.S. Mid-Amateur runner-up last year.

Costanza’s 25-foot birdie putt on the par-5 ninth hole at Arcola Country Club fired up Garden State fans and put him just inside the cut line. He shot 2 of par 72 and that, combined with Monday’s 3 of 74 at Ridgewood CC, gave him 5 of 146.

“It was one that I almost wanted to put in the hole, because I had so many opportunities on that back nine to birdie, and I had great putts and great looks and I didn’t couldn’t drop one,” Costanza said.

Costanza was born and raised here in Bergen County, played at nearby Bergen Catholic, and his putt drew a loud roar from the partisan crowd.

“I definitely heard them,” said Costanza, the 2020 New Jersey Open title roster. “I was screaming inside, I can tell you. were saying they were going to come out and watch, and if I can get into match play, I think it’s only going to grow from there. I’m looking forward to the excitement, and I love playing on that kind of scene, and I just hope I can move on.

A bad hole every day hurt Costanza. On Monday at Ridgewood, he made a triple bogey on the par-5 17e. On Tuesday at Arcola, he double bogeyed the par-3 second hole. Still, he’ll swing a club on Wednesday in the playoffs, with a chance to advance.

“I would kick myself if I didn’t make that putt, and obviously we’ll see what happens,” Hamilton Farm GC member Costanza told Gladstone. “But I’ve been playing really well the last two days. I made a triple yesterday and I made a double today. If I just take a few hits on the two, I’m clean.

A starting field of 312 is reduced to a minimum of 64 for match play and Costanza climbed into the match play picture on Tuesday afternoon by playing his last seven holes at 2-under. He birdied the par-4 fourth hole and then parried the next four holes.

All remaining action will be at Ridgewood CC and Wednesday’s playoffs begin at 7:30 a.m. on the 15the hole. The playoff survivors will then be placed in the 64-game match-play bracket.

Before the final 60 minutes of action, there was a four-way tie between the middle schoolers for the medalist at 3-under 138: 20-year-old Michael Thorbjornsen of Massachusetts, 19-year-old Luke Gutschewski of Nebraska, Hugo Townsend, 23, from Sweden, and middle schooler Fred Biondi from Brazil. Thorbjornsen doubled his last hole at Arcola to shoot 70.

Michael Thorbjornsen during the second qualifying round in stroke play for the 122nd U.S. Amateur Golf Championship, at Arcola Country Club in Paramus, Aug. 16, 2022.
Teenager Luke Gutschewski at the 122nd U.S. Amateur Golf Championship at Arcola Country Club in Paramus on Tuesday August 16, 2022.

Costanza was among five from the Garden State and eight from the New Jersey/New York area to compete, and the only one still alive:

William O’Neill of Morristown closed with 77 at Ridgewood to finish at 149. Austin Devereux of Brielle, the 2020 New Jersey amateur title roster at Arcola, closed with 75 at Ridgewood to finish at 152.

Doug Ergood of Mount Laurel finished with 79 at Arcola to shoot 155. Matthew Mattare of Jersey City shot 78 at Ridgewood to close with 156.

The Big Apple-area trio missed several shots before advancing. Collegian Luke Sample of New York, this year’s MGA “Ike” Stroke Play list of titles, shot 74 at Arcola for 150. Matthew Lowe of Farmingdale had 79 at Arcola for 158. Christian Cavaliere of Katonah had 79 at Ridgewood for 157.

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