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Past Assistant Section Championship Winners Recall Their Winning Moments

August 8th, 2017

With the Assistant Section Championship set for August 14 at Canoe Brook Country Club, we connected with past winners of the event and how it was a stepping stone to their careers as PGA Professionals.

Related: 2006-2007 Assistant Champ Winner Jim Herman | Past Champs Recall Winning Moments | Field

2015, Brian Mackey - It was my first year playing in the Section so I didn’t know what to expect. I had been playing well leading up to Canoe Brook but had no clue of the magnitude of the event. I played well on the South Course and kept it going in the afternoon. I remember making birdie on the 18th and being pretty happy with the way I played. Peter Chang said, “congratulations brother,” and I asked, “for what?” He looked at me stunned and said, “you won!” I had no clue we had access to an online leaderboard! Once I realized what happened I couldn’t wait to call my dad. It was a fantastic experience and I look forward to achieving those feelings again!

2015 Winner Brian Mackey.

2013, Ryan Fountaine - Winning the Assistant Championship was a great thrill.  I happened to be right in the middle of the interview process at Arcola for their PGA Head Professional vacancy when I won.  I’m not sure how much winning helped me in that process but it certainly didn’t hurt. It turned out that 2013 happened to be my last year as an assistant. Winning the last year I was eligible to play was special. The best part was celebrating with great friends on the back patio at Canoe Brook.

2013 Winner Ryan Fountaine.

2010, Paul Lejeune - I wasn’t sure where I stood when I finished because we did not have a scoreboard.  I found out from someone else that I had won by one shot. I made bogey on the last hole. It felt good knowing I could still play well during that time even at 52 years old.

2009, Vince Ramagli - It was actually a big win for me. I remember it gave me a good end to my season. Playing in the National Assistant Championship in Florida was great. I’m excited to play in it again this year. Canoe Brook is a great golf course.

2008, Keith Grassing - My highlight from winning the Assistant Championship was when Dan Pasternak, the host PGA Professional at Panther Valley that year, presented me a picture of the facility from his pro shop. He is a class act.

2005, John Deegan - I birdied the last hole to win by one-stroke.  Winning the Assistant Players Championship at Hollywood at the end of 2004 gave me the confidence I needed to actually finish under pressure.  I will always remember the positive words from other Section Professionals immediately following that win.  It was truly an honor to be a part of such a great Section during my professional career.

2003, Tom Sipula - I remember how great it felt to finally capture the Assistants Championship at Essex County in 2003.  A few years earlier I had come up just short at Montclair Golf Club after shooting a pair of 70’s.  It was one of my top 5 wins of my career and it was very rewarding to play well on such a classic course.

1991, Mark Giuliano - My championship was very special to me as my father lost his battle with cancer three weeks prior to the Championship.  The tournament was held at two of my favorite courses, Essex County and Mountain Ridge. My father was my mentor as well as my biggest fan so it was a very special win for me.

1988, Bill King - They cancelled it early because of the thunder. We were trying to go back out and this is before Thorguard. I was the winner because of that.
Past Champions
2016 Dylan Malafronte, TPC Jasna Polana
2015 Brian Mackey, White Beeches Golf and Country Club
2014 Carl Hays, Hollywood Golf Club
2013 Ryan Fountaine, Baltusrol Golf Club
2012 Sam Kang, Farmstead Golf and Country Club
2011 Sam Kang, Farmstead Golf and Country Club
2010 Paul Lejeune, Suburban Golf Club
2009 Vince Ramagli, Forest Hill Field Club
2008 Keith Grassing, North Jersey Country Club
2007 Jim Herman, Trump National Golf Club, Bedminster
2006 Jim Herman, Trump National Golf Club, Bedminster
2005 John Deegan, Rock Spring Club
2004 Al Giebler, Knob Hill Golf Club
2003 Tom Sipula, Edgewood Country Club
2002 Mark Yannotta, Crystal Spring Golf Club
2001 Peter Springstead, Hackensack Golf Club
2000 Mike LaBrutto, Rock Spring Club
1999 Frank Esposito Jr., Shackamaxon Country Club
1998 Matt Cannon, Green Brook Country Club
1997 John Klocksin, Metuchen Golf and Country Club
1996 Frank Esposito Jr., Crestmont Country Club
1995 Craig Lindsey, Fairmount Country Club
1994 John Klocksin, Ridgewood Country Club
1993 Brent Studer, Manasquan River Golf Club
1992 Charlie Cowell, Suburban Golf Club
1991 Mark Giuliano, Fairmount Country Club
1990 Mark Yannotta, Fairmount Country Club
1989 Bill King, Rutgers University Golf Course
1988 Bill King, Rutgers University Golf Course
1987 Baker Maddera, Echo Lake Country Club
1986 Michael Burke, Edgewood Country Club
1985 Michael Burke, Edgewood Country Club
1984 Ed Whitman, Hackensack Golf Club
1983 Ed Whitman, Hackensack Golf Club
1982 Jim Crowley, Mountain Ridge Golf Club
1981 Ben Karalis, Canoe Brook Country Club
1980 Art Silverstrone Jr., Preakness Hills Country Club