Golf: Accurate driving key to Mellet's win in Donald Ross Classic
QUEENSBURY Frank Mellet refuses to give in to age, and as long as his driver cooperates, he won’t have to.
The 52-year-old Colonie Golf & Country Club head pro posted a two-day total of five-under-par 135, including a three-under 68 in the final round Monday, to win the Northeastern New York PGA’s Donald Ross Classic at Glens Falls Country Club.
Mellet, a member of the NENYPGA Hall of Fame and former section player of the year, posted a two-under 67 in the opening round Sunday at The Sagamore Resort, which shortened one hole from a par-4 to a par-3 because of the wet conditions. The tournament is named after the famed course architecht who designed both courses.
Mellet, who earned $1,400, held off Don DeNyse III of Eagle Crest Golf Club and Jesse Muller of Windham Country Club, a couple of young assistant pros less than half his age.
“These are two of the best two courses we get to play,” said Mellet, who has won the Donald Ross Classic twice before. “Both courses are special.”
Mellet credited his steady play off the tee for giving him ample birdie opportunities in both rounds.
“I was driving the ball straight,” he said. “I hit 16 greens today, and I also hit 16 greens Sunday at The Sagamore. I missed everything [with the putter], though, until I rolled in birdies on the 14th, 15th and 16th holes today. It’s a lot easier to play both courses from the fairway. My driver has been my best club this season. I’ve hitting it long and straight.”
Mellet’s only bogey Monday came via the three-putt variety on the third hole. He also birdied the eighth hole.
“They used a lot of different cups that I hadn’t seen before,” he said. “To go three-under-par here, I’m thrilled.
“I was runner-up here to Scott Berliner when he got his hole-in-one. I think the last time I won this was in 2010.”
Mellet said keeping himself in top condition helps fight off the effects of aging.
“Knock on wood, it’s been 10 years since I had my back surgery, and I’ve been playing well and feeling well,” he said.
DeNyse, a Siena College graduate who is a former Eagle Crest Shootout and Albany County Amateur champion, is in his first year as an assistant pro. He said he couldn’t get anything going Monday, despite a strong finish on Sunday.
“I had just one birdie and one bogey today,” he said. “[Sunday], I was five-over-par after five holes, but then I went five-under over my final six holes. I ended up with five birdies and an eagle, and I thought I had some momentum going into today. I just couldn’t make anything.”
DeNyse finished with an even-par 71 to finish even-par for the tournament. He took home a check for $1,035.
Muller, 24, is in his third year as an assistant pro. Monday’s round included five birdies against two bogeys.
“The course was in great condition. The greens were perfect,” said Muller.
“I was hitting it straight off the tee. I think these courses give you a great mix. They are two totally different courses. One is a little shorter than the other, but they are both very challenging.”
Bob Mucha of Greenock Country Club (144, $666), Berliner of Cobleskill Golf & Country Club (144, $666), Tom Sullivan of Wyantenuck Country Club (144, $666), Glenn Davis of Albany Country Club (145, $470), Brian Lowe of Windham Country Club (146, $246), Ian Breen of Colonie Golf & Country Club (146, $246) and Steve Vatter of Capital Hills at Albany (146, $246) rounded out the cashers.
Curt Lohrey of Airway Meadows won the Legends division with a 157, good for $340.
Regular Division — Frank Mellet (Colonie G&CC) 68-135, $1,400; Don DeNyse III (Eagle Crest GC) 71-140, $1,035; Jesse Muller (Windham CC) 68-140, $1,035; Bob Mucha (Greenock CC) 75-144, $666; Scott Berliner (Cobleskill G&CC) 73-144, $666; Tom Sullivan (Wyantenuck CC) 69-144, $666; Glenn Davis (Albany CC) 71-145, $470; Brian Lowe (Windham CC) 75-146, $246; Ian Breen (Colonie G&CC) 76-146, $246; Steve Vatter (Capital Hills) 77-146, $246; Anders Mattson (Saratoga National) 72-147, Kevin Hughes (Saratoga G&P) 80-147, Paul Jaycox (Cobleskill G&CC) 73-147, Steve Mazzariello (Stockbridge GC) 76-149, Kevin Haller (Glens Falls CC) 69-150, Tom Oppedisano (McGregor Links CC) 77-151, Joe Fitzsimmons (Mohawk GC) 76-152, Tom Falotico (Dick’s Sporting Goods) 79-153, Tom Siddon (Massena CC) 80-153, Fred Fruisen (Skidmore College) 83-154, John Souza (Stadium GC) 76-156, David Strawn (Cranwell Resort) 73-157, Kevin Pokorski (Ausable Club) 78-158, Matt Daley (Schenectady Municipal) 81-158, Keith Sprenger (Pioneer Hills) 80-161, Eli Reid (Malone GC) 88-162, Bill Wigand III (Battenkill CC) 88-166, Anthony Therrien (Saratoga G&P) 87-177.
Legends Division — Curt Lohrey (Airway Meadows GC) 81-157, $340; Ron Choquette (PGA Retired Member) 85-161, $220.