RINGOES, N.J. – After 18 holes of action at the 102nd New Jersey Open Championship presented by Donnelly Industries, 22-year-old amateur Jason Salameno leads the group of 109 players at The Ridge in Back Brook.
The North Jersey Country Club product landed a bogey-free par 68 3-under on the par 71 from 6,925 yards. Salameno birdied on holes 7-9.
“I had everything I needed today,” Salameno recalled. “My irons were hitting the middle of the green, I was putting putts when I needed to and just driving the fairway.”
Defending champion Tyler Hall went a par 69 from 2 under on Monday morning. The three-time champion collected two birdies and an unblemished round.
“I just played really well,” said Hall, a teaching professional at Upper Montclair Country Club. “After doing my round, I realized I had hit about 18 greens. I think I missed a green by about six inches. I drove it very well, I hit it well. My irons were there today. I just haven’t made any putts to be honest. I think I hit corner 18 there and had it 20 feet out and then had a three putt for par. It was a little deflating to finish, but I played really solid, really stable, got a ton of looks all day. I feel pretty good.
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A total of 11 players are within three strokes of the lead. Along with Hall, four other competitors finished at 2 under par.
Brent Paladino, senior director of championship administration at the United States Golf Association (USGA) joins the list of golfers who are 2 under par.
“It was really tough out there with the wind,” said NJPGA member Paladino. “It felt like it had changed a few times and it was definitely a chore. So I just felt like I was really good at trying to hit the, the fat part of the green and make a lot of pars.
Paladino, 35, has spent the past two weeks on the road for the USGA, most recently at the United States Junior Women’s Championship in Kentucky.
“My expectations were pretty low,” Paladino said. “Sometimes it helps if you’re not expecting to go out and shoot 3 or 4 cents, you’re just going about your business and that’s kind of how I thought it was today. I just tried to go out and play solid and kind of see what happens.
Making history as the first two women to play in the championship, 2021 Women’s Amateur Champion Ami Gianchandani and Eagle Ridge’s Chief Golf Professional Rylee Plitz delivered a 78 (+7) and 79 ( +8).
Round two of the 102nd Open Championship continues at 8:00 a.m. Tuesday morning. Pairings and tee times can be found here. After the completion of 36 holes, the field is reduced to the top 40 scorers plus ties for the final round.
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