In his second year in the New Jersey Section, Grant Sturgeon of Arcola Country Club won his second major after defeating Tyler Hall of Upper Montclair Country Club, 2 and 1, for the Greg Norman Collection Match Play Championship at Somerset Hills Country Club presented by Morell Studios and Golf Max and supported by the PGA Tour.
“How you compete is a little different,” Sturgeon said of the match play format. “Every hole is the 18th hole.”
The 2017 Lincoln Charity Clambake champion reached the quarterfinals of the Match Play Championship last year, losing to Pat Fillian of Echo Lake Country Club. Today, Sturgeon was able to edge Fillian in the semifinals, 1 Up.
“He absolutely handed it to me last year,” Sturgeon said. “To be able to come out on top against Pat today, I felt really fortunate.”
Sturgeon has had success in other match play events. In 2014, the PGA Head Professional at Arcola won the Metropolitan Section’s Match Play Championship.
In his first Match Play Championship, Hall, who defeated Marc Issler of Toms River Golf Center in the semifinals, 1 Up, went through qualifying and reached the finals, before falling to Sturgeon in the final. The Director of Instruction at Upper Montclair is a two-time winner of the Assistant Match Play Championship (2015-16).
Hall held a one-hole advantage for majority of the front nine, but dropped the 10th and 11th to fall two holes behind.
“We just played defensive golf,” Sturgeon said “It was just really difficult where the pins were. It looked like we were having a pillow fight out there, but if we didn’t have a pillow fight, it would have been much worse with feathers flying, because where those pins were, you could make double bogey in a heartbeat.”
After missing his birdie putt on the par-4 17th, Hall conceded the hole to Sturgeon to hand him the victory.
“This year, I’m starting off on a high,” Sturgeon said. “The lows are going to come, but I’m just really fortunate to compete with a membership and a staff that allows me to compete.”