Our Blog

John Samerjan

We have just received this marvelous news from John Samerjan, who has been to two golf schools with Shelley Hamlin, reported the following story below. CONGRATULATIONS, John!

Dear Jay, Shelley and Carey:

Yesterday, I had my biggest win ever; the District Senior Amateur at Trenton District Golf Association (encompasses 22 clubs in the area and boasts some very high caliber senior players). I won in a driving rainstorm after a six hole playoff with the Champion of the host Club.

As it got tenser my Clear Key got louder: I was “Singin’ in the Rain”! After a pushed drive on the final playoff hole in the pouring rain I hit the best under pressure trouble shot of my life (a punched 5 iron out of a grove of trees to 10 feet to seal the win).

Shelley; it took until September but it came together yesterday. I hit 13 greens in regulation, in the rain and in a big tournament. My best iron play in years; just “swinging to the target, baby!”

Here’s the story from this morning’s Trenton Times (we are re-printing this excerpt with the permission of the Trenton Times):

Samerjan, Czenis enjoy TDGA Senior success Saturday, September 13, 2008 BY HARVEY YAVENER Special to the Times PRINCETON TOWNSHIP — John Samerjan couldn’t imagine having a bigger thrill on the golf course than the hole-in-one he carded here yesterday in the Trenton District Golf Association’s Senior Championship.

And then he trumped his ace.

Hours later, in the rain and quickly gathering darkness, the 56-year-old Samerjan, three-time seniors champion at Hopewell Valley Golf Club, completed a not-so- sudden-death championship playoff victory that took six extra holes before he defeated Jim Byer of host Springdale Golf Club.

“Nothing beats winning,” said the Montgomery resident, “especially a tournament like this, with the best senior players from 19 different clubs. I’ve played most of my life, back to growing up in Michigan where it was my mother who was the star golfer of the family, but I never won anything this large. In fact, I never won much of any golfing events until I turned 50. Maybe this will encourage other seniors to take up the game.”

Stan Czenis doesn’t need such encouragment. Czenis, the 75-year-old former longtime coach of many sports at Hightstown High and for the past 14 years executive director of the TDGA, repeated as champion of the 65-and-over super- seniors champions’ division, with a sparkling round of 78 despite a triple-bogey on the first hole, his score barely higher than the 76s posted by Samerjan and Byer. Since turning 65, Czenis has played the best golf of his life.

Czenis had one advantage yesterday. By playing early, he avoided almost all of the rain that not only dogged later starters but was the major factor in 23 of a banner field of 128 throwing in the sponge. That number included the lowest-handicapper in the field, scratch golfer Alan Roatche of Doylestown Country Club, who quit early and was heard declaring, “Enough is enough.”

But 18 holes weren’t enough for Samerjan and Byer, the 64-year-old Hun School headmaster who has been a major player on the local scene since his high-school days. Byer forced the playoff by holding on in the rain to match his opening 38 while the weather helped claim favorites like Beden Brook’s Dave Alampi. In sudden death, Byer and Samerjan opened with pars on the new No. 1 at the Springdale course renumbered this year after a dazzling multi-million dollar clubhouse was opened on the site of the former driving range.

They then each bogeyed the next two holes, parred the fourth and bogeyed the fifth. The end came at No. 6, which used to be No. 1 when the club entrance was at the course’s west end. Byer looked in good shape with a perfect drive, but his second shot fell just short of the green and rolled back. Meanwhile, Samerjan, who drove into a grove of trees, smiled that it was like being home at wooded Hopewell Valley, as he punched a five-iron he called, placed himself on the green where he got home in two putts. Byer didn’t, missing a par putt, and the long day ended.

Samerjan, for years a top aide to Bob Mulcahy at the Meadowlands and now back there as vice president for public affairs and communications of the NJSEA, saw his day turned earlier at the 13th hole when, after bogeying both the eighth and ninth, he drove 15 feet beyond the pin at short 13, using a 52-degree gap wedge, and saw the ball roll back straight into the cup.

“The only other ace I ever shot,” he said, “also was on the 13th hole, at Hopewell, a 146-yard hole-in-one on July 4, 2004. I guess 13 is my new lucky number.”

As for Czenis, his emergence as more than just the TDGA’s popular driving force, is a tribute to athletic skills he first showed as an all- state soccer player at Trenton Catholic. From there it was a memorable four years as baseball and basketball captain at Alliance College. When he came home, he was a standout softball player for years. At 29, he took up golf, while be coming a coach including a state soccer champion at Hightstown. Remarkably, his golf game keeps getting better, which he credits to strong wrists developed in baseball. And the putting touch of a lot younger guy.

TDGA Senior Championship Age-Flight winners

50-54– Jim McMacken (T) 77, Bill Hellman (Y) 80, Tom Beer (T) 80, Rocco Cuozzo (F) 81, Mark Inman (CV) 81, Don Slick (OY) 81. Net– Slick 71, Norm Staub (SR) 71, Hellman 72, John Tarnecki (R) 73, McMacken 73.

55-59– John Samerjan (HV) 76, Mike Bohard (OY) 78, Mike Brazin (R) 79, Don Lilly (R) 79, Dave Alampi (BB) 79, Jeff Stemple (OH) 80. Net– Samerjan 72, Bill Stone (HV) 73, Lilly 73, Bob Bruschi, 73, Ed Harlukowicz (OH) 73, Rick Brooke (HV) 74, Sam Steber (JN) 74.

60-64– Jim Byer (S) 76, Dave Anderson (OH) 79, Norm Linker (OY) 79, Rich White (JN) 79, John Forker (R) 79, Doug Watson (S) 80. Net– Forker 64, Anderson 72, Bill Staub (SR) 72, Bob Fitzsimons (R) 72, Byer 72.

65-69– Clark Pidcock (R) 80, Gerry Gatt (F) 80, Conrad Gack (JN) 86, Bob Dolan (R) 87. Net– Pidcock 70, Gatt 71, Cliff Maurer (P) 75, Gack 75.

70-Plus– Stan Czenis (P) 78, Don Cripps (P) 87, Bob Cox (P) 87. Net– Czenis 72, Ted Kopp (S) 73, Bill Kane (S) 73, Bill Hardesty (T) 74, Don Kentis (SR) 76.

©2008 Times of Trenton
© 2008 NJ.com All Rights Reserved.