For the second time in the NJSGA Open’s history, an Issler will leave the event as a winner.
Related: Marc Issler wins 98th New Jersey Open title with his dad on the bag
On his final hole on Friday, Marc Issler of Toms River Golf Center let his emotions out when he sank an eight-foot birdie putt on the closing hole to shoot a 1-under 209 and win the NJSGA Open, one-stroke clear of two-time winner Tyler Hall of Upper Montclair Country Club.
On the bag for the week was his father Bob, a PGA Professional who also won the event in 1981. The two became the second father-son duo to win the event since
Arthur Silvestrone Senior in 1972 and 1973 and Arthur Silvestrone Junior in 1979.
“It’s not just this year, I’ve been close a lot of times,” Issler said. “This feels like it’s been a long time coming. I’ll remember that putt for a long time.”
The 32-year-old has worked up his confidence this year and has contended at nearly every major event in the Section since becoming a PGA Member three years ago. His most notable result this year was reaching his first semifinal at the Greg Norman Collection Match Play Championship in May.
“I just said to myself, ‘you know what? This is your week,’ and I think to win something big you almost have to talk yourself into it,” Issler said. “After a few years and a lot of close calls, you start to doubt yourself, but you have to just push through.”
Issler led for majority of the final round before making bogey in the 15th after his drive clipped a branch. Hall jumped ahead with a birdie on No. 15, but three-putted on the 17th and had his birdie putt burn off the edge on the 18th.
With Issler and Hall tied at even entering the final hole, Issler needed to make birdie or the two would compete in a playoff. Issler struck his 5-iron to the right of the hole to win the championship in regulation.
Issler has finished inside the top 10 in the last three seasons in the OMEGA Section Player of the Year. His best results include finishing inside the top five of the Fall Finale two of the last three years and competing in three consecutive PGA Professional Championships.
“There’s been nothing quite like this,” Issler said. ‘It’s going to take a while to sink in.”
Montclair Golf Club has hosted this event seven times, most recently in 1993.