While on vacation last week, I was extremely interested in the finale of GolfChannel’s “Big Break Florida” series, which had a local link.
Jackie (Barenborg) Stoelting of Vero Beach, Fla., daughter of Niskayuna native Ed Barenborg, won the 21st edition of the reality series/golf skills competition by defeating Flamma Felitch of Oklahoma City, 4-and-3.
Stoelting, who is competing on the Symetra Tour, built a 5-up lead through the first eight holes and coasted the rest of the way.
By winning the popular series, Stoelting not only was awarded an invitation to compete in the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic June 5-8, but she also earned $65,000 in cash, including $5,000 from Dick’s Sporting Goods and $10,000 from Macanudo Cigars; full exempt status on the Symetra Tour all season, with all entry fees paid; an endorsement contract, including $10,000 in cash, from Adams Golf; $10,000 in car rental credit from Avis Car Rental; $13,000 in travel credit, courtesy of Travelocity; and a four-day, three-night stay at any Omni golf resort in the United States.
“It means the world to me. I’m just so thankful, and I can’t believe it,” she said in a GolfChannel press release. “This is a rollercoaster. I played really well, and this is going to change my life.”
The unusual part of the whole deal is that this competition was held in October at the Oak Marsh Golf Course at Omni Amelia Island Plantation, Fla. I interviewed Jackie before the series began, and she had to keep most of the details of her competition secret. I had no idea that she had already won!
She would be a great poker player.
COUNTY AM SET
The Gazette’s County Amateur Golf Championship will be played June 13-15 at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course.
Entry fee is $50, and entry deadline is June 9 (not the June 2 date on the original entry blank). Only Schenectady County residents are eligible, plus past champions.
Six-time winner Paul Pratico is not only the defending champion, but also has three Gazette Senior County Amateur titles to his credit. Jim Mueller has the most County Am crowns with seven.
The three-day scratch event began in 1951.
The field will be cut to the low 40 and ties for the second round and to the low 20 and ties for the final round.
ANOTHER COUNTY AM
Also scheduled for the same week will be the Saratoga County Amateur, to be held June 13 at Eagle Crest Golf Club and June 14 at The Edison Club.
There will be an open division and a senior division for players 50 and older. Friday’s round will have a full field in threesomes with tee times beginning at 7 a.m. The low 20 and ties in each division will advance to The Edison Club on Saturday, with tee times in threesomes starting at noon.
Entry fee will be $75, and it includes motorized carts for both rounds. For more information, contact John Peterson at Eagle Crest (877-7082, ext. 229) or Craig McLean at The Edison Club (399-2992).
MY TWO CENTS
I was disappointed to see upstate New York lose another golf tournament, as Rochester loses its longtime LPGA event after this August.
This follows the LPGA moving out of Corning a few years ago and the PGA Tour dropping Turning Stone from its fall series.
Money, especially big money, speaks loud and clear.
* Two-time Gazette County Am champion Bryan Bigley, now a professional, and Jim Gifford of Mohawk Golf Club are among the players competing in Tuesday’s U.S. Open 36-hole sectional qualifier for a berth in the U.S. Open June 12-15.
* Van Patten Golf Club will host the 24th edition of the ALS Memorial June 25. There will be a morning flight (7 a.m. shotgun start) and an afternoon flight (noon start), with a 19th hole reception for all golfers from 5-6:30 p.m. and a dinner following at 6:45 p.m. Breakfast is included in the morning flight, and lunch (hot dogs, burgers, sausage barbecue) is included in the afternoon flight. Entry fee is $155 per golfer. There will be a live auction for a Pebble Beach golf package (five days, four nights) set for Dec. 10-14. Call Melissa Morrison (525-1629) at the ALS Center or Scott Daly (339-0491) for more information.
* Fox Run will host the next Eastern New York Golf Association event Wednesday.
Kenny Hall collected his third career ace with a 190-yard 5-wood shot on the 13th hole at Sycamore Country Club.
Mary Ann Keeler of the Executive Women’s Golf Association registered her first hole-in-one with a 3-wood on the 151-yard 17th hole at Orchard Creek Golf Course. She also posted her lowest career nine-hole round with a 37.
Charlie Arsenault holed out with an 8-iron on the 139-yard ninth hole at Van Schaick Island Country Club.
At Shaker Ridge Country Club, Mike McDonald of Menands aced the 122-yard fourth hole with a pitching wedge. It was his fourth career ace.
Steve Quay also posted a hole-in-one at Shaker Ridge with an 8-iron on the same fourth hole playing at 125 yards.
Moe Mroczkowski shot a hole-in-one on the 17th hole at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course.
Also at Schenectady Municipal, Joe Ruggiero used a 9-iron for a hole-in-one on the sixth hole.
Dean Clark used a 7-iron for his ace on the 171-yard 17th hole at Airway Meadows.
Jonathan Lathey found the cup with a 7-iron on the 141-yard fifth hole at Stadium Golf Club.
Sal Capitummino eagled the first hole by sinking a 3-hybrid from 190 yards at Stadium.
In the End Zone league at Mechanicville Golf Club, Ron Baisley eagled the 16th hole.
Linda Klimchak eagled the 15th hole at Briar Creek while playing in the GE Women’s league.
Alex Bond eagled the 10th hole while competing in the Couples league at Amsterdam Municipal.
Bill Janis chipped in for eagle on the 12th hole at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course while playing in the Pinhead Susans league.
Also at Schenectady Municipal, Pete Russo eagled the 12th hole during the K of C league.