By tim morris Junior Golf Competition gets off to a flying start JERRY WOLKOWITZ Chuck and Ginna DiLeo, of Manalapan, watch their sons Vincent, 12, Patrick, 9, and Johnny, 4, practice their golf swings at Knob Hill Golf Course in Manalapan on Friday. The DiLeos operate the Junior Golf Competition Association of New Jersey. There’s something to be said for competition in any sport. Charles and Ginna DiLeo learned that when their 12-year-old son Vincent told them that all that he and his brothers, 9-year-old Patrick and 4-year-old John, ever did was play practice rounds of golf. They never competed in golf tournaments. When the DiLeos, who live and play golf at Knob Hill in Manalapan (Charles is an avid golfer who has won club championships at Glenwood Country Club, Old Bridge), realized that there were only two or three events sanctioned by the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) for golfers in their children’s age group each year, they decided to do something about it. They created a Junior Golf Competition with the idea of giving young junior golfers a tournament each week throughout the summer. After going through all the paperwork required to incorporate, the DiLeos turned to the golf courses in Monmouth and Middlesex counties to see if they could find venues for their tournaments. They were told it wouldn’t be easy. “When the golf courses heard that the tournaments were for kids, they were eager to help out,” said DiLeo. That put the Junior Golf Competition Association of New Jersey in gear, and the competition made its debut on June 26 at the Twinbrooks Golf Course in Neptune. “There was an overwhelming response,” noted DiLeo. “A lot of golfers and their parents showed up.” The junior tournaments are played over nine holes in four age groups: 8-year-olds, 9- to 10-year-olds, 11- to 13-year-olds and 14- to 17-year-olds. Children ages 8-13 must be accompanied by their parent or an adult. The initial foray into junior tournaments was a success in more ways than one for the DiLeos, as Patrick DiLeo won the 9- to 10-year-old division, carding a 39. He won by five strokes over runner-up Ryan Harvey (44), with Zachary Gross coming in third (45). Chuck Anttonen won the 11- to 12-year-old division with a 31, one stroke better than Robert Gross (32). Third place went to Jonathan Abramson (40). In the 14- to 17-year-old division, Ronny Simpson, Pat Politan and Greg Martz Jr. shot 34. In the two-hole playoff for first, Simpson prevailed. Second place went to Politan, and Martz was third. DiLeo credited the Tiger Woods frenzy for the increased number of young golfers participating in the sport. “Vincent told us that Tiger Woods’ book inspired him,” she said. The next stop on the summer circuit is tomorrow at the Pine Barrens Golf Club, Jackson. Tee-off is 3 p.m. The remainder of the schedule is as follows: 3 p.m. Tuesday, Knob Hill Country Club, Manalapan; 8 a.m. July 20, Peddie Golf Course, Hightstown; 10 a.m. July 27, Battleground Country Club, Manalapan; 2 p.m. Aug. 3, Cranbury Golf Course, West Windsor; 2 p.m. Aug. 15, Eagle Ridge Golf Course, Lakewood; noon Aug. 21, Glenwood Country Club; and 1 p.m. Aug. 24, Woodlake Country Club, Lakewood. The championship finals will be at 1 p.m. Aug. 31 at Monroe’s Forsgate Country Club. Golfers must have participated in four events during the summer to be eligible. With this year’s competition off to a great start, the DiLeos are already looking ahead to next year with the goal of expanding it throughout the state and perhaps creating regional tournaments. For more information on the 2000 Junior Golf Competition, call (732) 446-7777.