Gersh Grasps Victory at North Jersey
WAYNE, N.J. (September 19, 2023) – A 2-over 73 earned Steve Gersh of Rolling Hills the victory in the 12th MGA Senior Masters Tournament Presented by Continental Properties, as the 66-year-old edged defending champion Tom Yellin of Stanwich by a shot at North Jersey Country Club.
Not having seen the course before – a classic Walter Travis design that has the majority of a recent restoration project complete – Gersh was grateful for his caddie that led his group around.
“I though the course was beautiful,” said Gersh. “I hit the ball really well tee to green and the biggest advantage was getting an incredibly good caddie. Having not seen the course before, he was helpful with yardages, with lines and he was incredibly helpful on the greens. That made it a lot better and that was probably a 3-4 stroke advantage right there, having Dan on our bag.”
Gersh started on the fourth hole in the 1 p.m. shotgun start. Though he carded a bogey, he settled in quickly and parred 11 of his next 12 holes. While the par-5 17th led to a double-bogey for Gersh, he made his first birdie of the day on the par-4 18th.
After a pair of pars on Nos. 1 and 2, Gersh closed with a clutch birdie on the par-4 third, which proved to be crucial to his victory.
“I’ve been playing pretty well and this is a great time of year to be playing golf when it gets a little crisper, so I thought I could play pretty well,” said Gersh. “The competition in these things is always so tough, so when I was out there I knew I was 1- or 2-over and was thinking, ‘I’m way out of it because these guys are going to go under par on me and I just can’t be competitive.’ I didn’t realize while I was out there how hard the golf course was for everyone else and was able to just stick it out.”
With six past champions in the field – Yellin, George Zahringer, Jim Graham, Jay Blumenfeld, David Pilossoph, and Ron Vannelli – there’s no wonder why Gersh wasn’t putting much pressure on himself during the round. But, to his pleasure, his 2-over 73 did the trick.
“It's unbelievable. It’s so exciting for me,” said Gersh. “I came in second in the Westchester Super Senior Amateur and that was a great accomplishment, but to beat the level of competition of the people out here is just amazing.”
Yellin registered a double bogey, two bogeys and a lone birdie on the par-4 fifth for his 74 while David Weininger of Neshanic Valley had five bogeys and his lone birdie on the par-5 fourth on the day. Robert Moriarty of Country Club of Fairfield and Frank Geiger of Sterling Farms rounded out the top-five with 5-over 76s.
North Jersey was hosting an MGA event for the fifth time, but its first since the 1989 Mixed Pinehurst. The club – a founding member of the MGA – was established in 1894, with its present day location opening in 1923 after nearly two years of construction due to the trees and rocks on the rugged terrain. The recent restoration has returned much of Travis’ original intent to the course and has been overseen by Brian Schneider.
Though the course received two inches of rain on Monday, players were still faced with outstanding conditions and a tough test on the challenging, undulating Travis greens that still had plenty of speed.
The site of the 13th MGA Senior Masters Tournament Presented by Continental Properties is to be announced.