DENVILLE, New Jersey — Tyler Hall went to school on playing partner Ryan Snuffer's tee shot at the 14th hole and it helped him win the New Jersey Open.
The Upper Montclair teaching pro ignited a run four straight birdies late in the final round by hitting an 8-iron to within 4-feet and cruised to a 7-stroke victory over defending champion Max Greyserman in the $75,000 event on Thursday.
Hall's late birdie binge put an exclamation point on a 4-under 68 that gave him an 11-under total of 205 on the Rockaway River Country Club. It was the 33-year-old's first major win in the state, and his second in the New York Metropolitan area, coming four years after he won the Met Open at Sleepy Hollow in Westchester County.
"It's just validation to know that the time and work that I still put into my game is paying off," said Hall, who earned a $15,000 top prize. "I'll never give up on my dream to play and my ability to compete. I think if I gave up on that: 'What am I doing?' I would rather go sell cars."
Leading by two shots with six holes to play, Hall got up and down at No. 13 to save par and then made birdies ranging from four feet to 15 feet over the next four holes to put the tournament away.
The 4-footer at par-3, No. 14 was the key. Hall admitted he changed clubs after watching Snouffer's tee shot.
"That was kind of the tournament for me," Hall said. "Once I made that, I was going to be off and running."
The only putt Hall missed down the stretch was a 10-foot birdie at No. 18. It was a putt he wanted to make for his 6-month-old daughter, and it just missed.
Greyserman, the Duke junior who won last month's state amateur, started the round three shots behind Hall and got to within a shot at the turn. However, the 20-year-old amateur bogeyed the 10th and 11th holes and never got that close again.
"I had a chance at the turn but then had a bad stretch at 10-11 and 12," said Greyserman, who missed a 3-foot par saver at No. 10 and chunked a pitch shot at the next hole.
Amateur Mike Stamberger of Spring Lake shot a tournament-best, 7-under 65 and finished tied for third at 213 with Brett Jones of Due Process Stable. Snouffer, who started the final round in second place two shots behind Hall, had an early triple bogey en route to a 75 and fifth-place finish at 214.
Hall stopped watching the scoreboard and started playing his game after going bogey-bogey at the sixth and seventh holes.
"I have always been confident in my ability to compete and grind," Hall said. "A lot of people see it different ways, they are nervous to sleep on the lead, I welcome it. As far I saw I had a cushion heading into a day that I felt very comfortable out there, and I knew my game was in a good spot. I knew if I got to my number 10 (under) someone would have to do something special."