Alex Beach didn’t want to look at the leaderboard all day.
But the 28-year-old couldn’t help but feel confident heading to the final hole, after he went up-and-down on the par-5 17th to make birdie and pull two ahead of Mountain Ridge’s Rich Terga.
That birdie helped him shoot a 3-under 68 in his final round to successfully defend his New Jersey PGA Championship title.
I’m just happy with the way I played,” Beach said. “I stayed patient. I only made two bad swings all week.”
Beach, who finished the week at 4-under, is the first player since Frank Esposito (2010-11) to successfully defend their Section Championship title. Three of his four Section major victories have come at Mountain Ridge (Fall Finale 2015-16).
“Definitely having success here had me come in with a very level mindset,” Beach said.
“Everything has been building up to getting better. I knew if I went under par, [the field] had to play well today.”
Beach’s victory also builds on his success last month, competing in the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow.
Rich Terga, who was tied with Beach for a majority of the final round, finished in solo second at 2-under overall. He shot a final round 71.
“For me, I was happy the way I played,” Terga said. “I got beat, is basically it.”
Terga had the support of his membership throughout the round. Mountain Ridge’s Aaron Asedo and Len Siter, Director of Golf, also made the cut this week and tied for 37th.
“What a great feeling to have your membership support you,” Terga said. “That was really special.”
The 41-year-old Mountain Ridge instructor has qualified for his second PGA Professional Championship, his first since 2014 when he was a member of the South Florida Section. Terga said that his familiarity with Mountain Ridge helped his confidence throughout the week.
“When we play every day here, these greens [this week] are probably a foot faster than what we normally play,” Terga said. “You’ve got to play more on the ground. One thing that Len told me was to be careful when you play and when you start attacking pins, and it hits to the back, you can really suffer, especially where the pin placements were.”
For Beach, successfully defending his title has given him another chance to earn OMEGA Player of the Year honors.
“To win Player of the Year again would but great,” Beach said. “Grant’s an unbelievable player and a lot of guys are playing great.”
Related: Player of the Year
There will be 11 other PGA Professionals joining Beach at the PGA Professional Championship, June 17-20, 2018 at Bayonet Black Horse. Joining Beach is Terga, Sam Kang of Essex Golf Range, Travis Deibert of The Ridge at Back Brook, Due Process Stable’s Brett Jones, Echo Lake’s Pat Fillian, Jim McGovern of White Beeches, Brent Studer of Metedeconk National, Forsgate’s Frank Esposito, Toms River Golf Center’s Marc Issler, Trump Colts Neck’s Bill Britton, and Nick Beddow of Green Brook, who earned the last spot in a 3-for-1 playoff.