Paladino Claims 103rd New Jersey Open Championship

Paladino Claims 103rd New Jersey Open Championship

ORADELL, N.J. - Brent Paladino rode a tidal wave of momentum in the final round at Hackensack Golf Club to win the 103rd New Jersey Open Championship presented by Donnelly Industries. 


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“I can't believe that I'm here,” Paladino expressed following his round. “When I woke up this morning, I was just looking to play some good golf. To be here to be with the trophy is incredible. I'm just super proud to be the champion.” 

After a weather delay on Tuesday, half of the field returned to complete their second round. Paladino, a New Jersey PGA Section Class A-11 professional fell under that category, playing 27 holes in the final day of competition.  

The major championship didn’t start as planned for Paladino. The 36-year-old opened the event with a 1-over par 73, but it was his second round, 67 (-5) that put him back into the mix.  

“When I woke up this morning, to be honest, I was more focused on just making the cut and just playing well,” Paladino said.  

Paladino went into the final round five strokes behind the leader, Troy Vannucci. Starting off with a trio of pars, he went on a birdie barrage, tallying five birdies on the front nine. Despite a hiccup on No. 9, Paladino went on to a complete blemish-free second nine, carding three more birdies the rest of the way to turn in a 7-under par 65.  


“I hit a lot of really good wedges,” Paladino recalled. “Pitching wedges, 9 irons - I hit a lot of really good shots with those clubs, to four or five, six feet every time. That was kind of the difference, giving myself a ton of birdie opportunities over the course of the day.”  

Finishing ahead of a majority of the leading groups, Paladino waited anxiously for the remainder of the field to finish. 

Meanwhile, Nick Bova of Hamilton Farm Golf Club was even with Paladino until the final hole. Competing in the final pairing, Bova played steady golf, carding birdies on 4, 8, and 9. It went down to the wire, requiring a birdie to clinch the win or a par to force a playoff with Paladino, but an errant tee shot on No. 18 left him with a lengthy putt for par. Ultimately, Bova would record a bogey on 18 to move into second place. 

“I was just hoping for a playoff,” Paladino said of his wait. “I was just killing some time. I took a shower, I was down chipping and just trying to kill as much time as I could and not look at the leaderboard every two seconds. When I looked up and saw Kevin (NJSGA Executive Director) and a couple of other people on the hill, I was like, wow, that's just incredible. It’s still kind of a shock to be honest.” 

Paladino, Senior Director, Championship Administration at the USGA recently won the 2023 NJPGA Charity Clambake Championship and the 2023 NJPGA Match Play Championship.  

“I wish I could say it's been a lot of practice,” Paladino said of his consistent play recently. “We have a year and a half old, so I've just been efficient with my time and fortunate with my job to be able to have some flexibility to practice. All this year I've been driving it really well and then hitting those short clubs really well. That was somewhat of the same thing at Hollywood in the Clambake – got dialed in and started hitting a lot of really good wedges and made a lot of birdies.”  

Vannucci of Little Mill Country Club and Jack Simon of Rockaway River Country Club both shared low amateur honors. Holding a two-stroke lead heading into the final round, Vannucci carded a 1-over par 73 on Wednesday. 

"Today is one of those days where it just doesn't go your way,” Vannucci said. “I’m just going to keep doing what I am doing, put myself in position and eventually keep knocking and we will see what happens.” 

Of the $100,000 total purse, Paladino earned a $20,000 share. Paladino carded rounds of 73-67-65 en route to the title.   

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