O'rourke & Havay Find Their Way To Four-ball Semifinals

O'rourke & Havay Find Their Way To Four-ball Semifinals

Dan O’Rourke and John Havay are golf buddies and fellow caddies at Trump National in Bedminster who were the story of the day at the 84th NJSGA Four-Ball Championship at the 6,521-yard North Jersey Country Club in Wayne.

In the morning Round of 16, eighth-seeded O’Rourke and Havay, who play together at High Bridge Hills, ousted defending champions Brett Gottsegen and Zach Stark of Cedar Hill, 1 up, when Havay sank a birdie putt on the 18th hole of the match.

In the afternoon quarterfinals, O’Rourke and Havay went one better, defeating medalists and top seeds Danny Syring and Alex Ferrante of Alpine, 2 and 1, as O’Rourke had the hot hand.


“I knew because they were medalists on Tuesday, I didn’t want to sit back and put all the pressure on John,” said O’Rourke, 20. “After it rained early in the round and softened things up, I felt I could fire at anything. “

Against Ferrante and Syring, O’Rourke got it going, registering birdies at the first, fourth, sixth and seventh holes. Havay added another birdie at the third hole and after seven holes, O’Rourke and Havay were up four holes.

“We play together all the time,” O’Rourke stated.The team advances to the semifinals Thursday morning to face the team of Justin Chae and Evan Quinn of New Jersey National.

In the morning, Havay carded four birdies, three of them for victories. His biggest shot came on the ninth hole – the 18th hole of the match – when his four iron from 205 yards ended six feet from the cup. That birdie putt won the match.

“I played very well this morning, probably two under for the entire round. I was trying to stay calm and patient because they (Gottsegen and Stark) were a very solid team. It didn’t bother me that they were defending champions. You have to find a way to win anyway against anybody and we did,” said Havay, 24.

Havay caddies at Trump National in Jupiter, Florida, in the winter time. O’Rourke and Havay are playing in the Four-Ball Championship for the first time.

“We’re excited to be in the semifinals. We just want to stick to our game plan, which is to both be in the hole and to not let the opponent win with a par,” O’Rourke said.

In another quarterfinal match, Mike O'Connell and Ryan Chin of Arcola topped Cole Clark of High Bridge Hills and Sam DiGaetano of Mercer Oaks , 4 and 3. O'Connell and Chin bested Jared Brechman and Tyler Brewington of Metedeconk National in the Round of 16, 5 and 3

O'Connell has an edge in local knowledge, having been a member at North Jersey for 10 years (2004-13) and was a club champion three times.He has also finished runner-up twice in the event, once with Erv Allaghi and ore recently with Luke Edelman.

"Yes, I'm burning to win this," said O'Connell, who turns 40 on Saturday. With Ryan, I play first and hit it free and easy. I know he'll follow with a tee shot in the fairway. Ryan takes the pressure off me, knowing how well he plays."

Chjn said their games complement each other well.

"We play together at the club a lot. We know what we can expect of each other. Our games are totally different. Mike hits it 290 and I hit it 240. I dink it around and get it tight to the greens. Mike hits it great and makes some putts for us," said Chin, 37. Chin and O'Connell in the semifinals face Ambrose Abbracciaento and Charles Cai of Mercer Oaks who needed 20 hoels to beat the Rumson duo of Jack Skirkanich and John Browndorf in the quarterfinals. ,

A pair of 18-year-olds from New Jersey National remained alive but it took 19 holes for Justin Chae and Evan Quinn to outlast veterans Merv Smith and Mike Ryan in the quarterfinals.

Quinn, who is headed for Princeton, hit a 9-iron 137 yards to six inches for a birdie on the 19th hole (first hole) to win the match. He had found the woods on the left side of the 517-yard par-five hole, then hit a hybrid 220 yards to set up the "shot of the match," he said. Quinn's 25-foot birdie putt on No. 17 had given his team a 1-up lead, but Chae three-putted for bogey on No. 18.

"We have to take advantage of this opportunity," said Chae, who will walk on to the Duke University team.If we can handle the pressure we faced today, being two down with five to play in the morning, we can find a way to carry it further tomorrow," he said.

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