Down The Fairway: Amateurs, pros eye Gazette Cup
Local club professionals play the game of golf as part of their job, although they rarely tee it up as often as they would like. The pros normally play for pay in their weekly events. Area amateurs, however, compete mainly for fun.
Both sides are passionate about the game, each squad is loaded with talent and both teams will be shooting for bragging rights when the 11th annual Gazette Cup tees off Wednesday morning at Mohawk Golf Club.
The pros from the Northeastern New York Golf Association lead the series, 6-4, but the amateurs from the Capital Region Amateur Golf Association pulled an upset last year with a 351⁄2-181⁄2 victory in soggy, wet conditions. The local pros had won four of the previous five matches.
Each team is comprised of 12 players from each organization’s player of the year point list. All competition is match play. There are two individual matches and one team match going on in each group simultaneously, with a total of nine points available in each group. Three points are awarded in each match — one for winning the front side, one for winning the back side and one for winning total.
So far, 10 players have signed up to play on the CRAGA team, including honorary captain Chuck Connolly (Kingswood Links), a two-time New York State Senior Amateur champion and the premier 60-and-over player in the region.
Also included on the amateur roster are Normanside Country Club’s Victor Fox, a Bethlehem senior who was the medalist at this week’s U.S. Open Local Qualifier at Albany Country Club; Siena College product Justin Deitz of The Edison Club; former Troy Invitational champion Steve Quillinan Jr. of the CC of Troy; Mike McCarroll of Saratoga National; former Tri-County Golf Association Match Play champion Chad Stoffer of Schenectady Municipal; Dave Pallas of Saratoga Spa State Park, who recently won the Stadium Classic with partner Jim Welch; Mike Wheeler of Mohawk Golf Club; Dave Hayes of Schuyler Meadows; and multiple CRAGA Player of the Year Dan Russo of Rolling Hills Country Club.
“It’s always fun to play against your peers,” said Russo. “Whether they are professionals or amateurs. It’s fun to see how you stack up, competition-wise. It doesn’t happen very often that you have the chance to play against the pros, but it’s always a good-natured competition. To me, it’s always a lot of fun. But it’s only fun to a point, because when the tee goes in the ground, it definitely gets competitive.”
Al Stein, a lifetime retired member of the PGA, has been named honorary captain for the NENYPGA team.
Stein recently earned Half Century membership in the PGA. He was a former pro at Glens Falls Country Club, and was the president of the NENYPGA from 1972 through 1974.
The pro team includes reigning NENYPGA Player of the Year Scott Berliner of Cobleskill G&CC, Bob Mucha of Greenock CC, Ian Breen of Colonie Golf & Country Club, Tom Oppedisano of McGregor Links CC, Glenn Davis of Albany CC, John Souza of Stadium Golf Club, Tom Siddon of Massena CC, Jeremy Kerr of the host club, Keith Sprenger of Pioneer Hills and Steve Mazzariello of Stockbridge GC.
Vivian Semian of Ballston Lake was one of 10 honorees of the Pinnacle Going the Distance Awards.
A $10,000 donation will be made to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure in Semian’s name, and she will receive a prize package, including Pinnacle Gold Ribbon white and pink golf balls, a Pinnacle hat, a pair of custom MyJoys shoes and a FootJoy jacket.
The Pinnacle Going the Distance Awards honors people who are making a difference in the fight against breast cancer. Semian is an eight-year breast cancer survivor. She and her husband were instrumental in starting a golf tournament to raise money for the American Cancer Society 35 years ago. She also helped start a Rally for the Cure golf tournament through her golf league. That tournament raised more than $1,500 last year and more than $9,000 since it began.
The Skidmore College golf team, ranked 16th in the country, earned its 27th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Division III Championships, to be held Tuesday through Thursday at the Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort in Destin, Fla. The tournament will be hosted by
perennial national power Methodist College.
The Thoroughbreds earned the automatic bid into the tournament by beating RPI to win a sixth consecutive Liberty League tournament title. Only four teams have more NCAA tournament appearances than Skidmore, led by Methodist with 33.
The field will be cut to 17 teams after 36 holes, with 110 players competing in the final 36 holes. Skidmore will look to better last year’s performance at nationals after missing the cut with a 615 total after two rounds.
The Thoroughbreds have won four tournaments this season, including the conference title.
u Pioneer Hills Golf Course will hold a men’s league beginning May 21 with a 5 p.m. shotgun start. The format will be different every Tuesday night, with weekly prizes. Cost is $12 to walk or $22 to ride, plus $2 for weekly pro shop prizes. Contact head pro Keith Sprenger at 885-7000 for more information.
u Hillcrest Golf Club will conduct a three-club scramble to benefit the American Cancer Society Relay for Life on June 2. Cost is $75, and includes golf, lunch at the turn and dinner. Call Hillcrest at 355-9817 for reservations or more information. Entry fee must be paid in full by May 26.
u Eight area juniors competed in the George Douglas Memorial Junior Golf Invitational at Corning Country Club — the site of the former Corning Classic on the LPGA Tour — recently. Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake senior David Wellington recorded a 78, Glens Falls High School sophomore Alex Gibson shot an 80, while Gloversville High School junior Josh Fonda shot an 81 to tie for 17th in the 17-player field. Three players from Broadalbin-Perth also competed, with freshman Alex Bond shooting an 85, sophomore Brett Getman carding an 89 and eighth-grader Noah Scott posting a 100. Hudson Falls junior Wyatt Gorham had an 87. Northville’s Jordon Fordyce, also a sophomore, shot a 100.
u The Eastern New York Golf Association plays its weekly tournament at Queensbury Country Club Wednesday.
u Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute head men’s golf coach Miles Nolan has been named the Liberty League Coach of the Year. Nolan guided the Engineers to six first-place finishes in his recently completed 10th year with the team.
u Stadium Golf Club will be the site of the Mohonasen Foundation for Excellence “Bill Baker Memorial” Golf Tournament on July 12. Entry fee is $110, and includes golf, carts, Continental breakfast, buffet lunch and beverages for the mixed scramble format. Entry deadline is June 28. There will be an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start. Team prizes for gross and Callaway, a 50-50 raffle, longest and most accurate drives, a Price Chopper hole-in-one contest and drawings for golf equipment and other prizes will be included. Call Harry Lampman at 374-5411 for more information.
u The Darcie Trapasso Tennis Camp is sponsoring its second annual Puttin’ For Kids, Ronald McDonald House golf fundraiser July 22 at Albany Country Club. All proceeds will go to the renovation of their new house on South Lake Avenue in Albany. Last year, the event raised $15,000. There will be a 12:30 p.m. shotgun start for the four-person scramble. Entry fee is $600 per foursome, and includes golf, locker room facilities, cart, driving range, gift bag, barbecue lunch, beverages on course, raffles, silent auction and dinner. Marisa Jacques, sports director of YNN, will be the emcee. Call 210-4170 or visit firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
u Van Patten Golf Course will host the 23rd annual ALS Memorial Open Golf Tournament June 26. All proceeds will support the ALS Regional Center at St. Peter’s Hospital. Last year’s tournament raised more than $124,000. Among the exclusive raffles are a limited number of tickets, to be sold for $100 each or three for $250, for a trip for two at the Pebble Beach Resorts to participate in the Lexus Champions for Charity National Championship. There is also a raffle to win $1,000 in Southwest Airlines gift cards. For more information, contact William Scott Daly at 377-2236, or Stephen W. Michaels at 857-1934.
u Start making your plans for the fourth annual Jack Scaccia Sr. Memorial Golf Tournament, which will be held Aug. 12 at Mohawk River Country Club & Chateau. Scaccia was a bowling proprietor in the Capital Region for more than 40 years, and was also an avid golfer who was a member of Pinehaven Country Club. The entry fee will be $125, and includes lunch and dinner. Entry blanks are available at Boulevard Bowl, Alpha Lanes and Town ’N Country Lanes. You can also call 393-5013 for more information.
u The Edison Club will host the 17th annual Friends of Union Athletics Golf Classic May 20. Entry fee is $550 per foursome, and includes golf, cart, driving range, gifts, lunch, barbecue dinner and on-course competitions. There will be a noon shotgun start.
Ed Jasenski aced the 17th hole with a 6-iron at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course. It was the second time this season that a member of the Misfits league recorded a hole-in-one.
Edward Van Wormer III holed out with a 9-iron on the 95-yard 10th hole at Whispering Pines Golf Course.
Jim Martin wielded a 5-hybrid to ace the 160-yard 12th hole at Fox Run Golf Club.
Also at Fox Run, Santo LoPresti holed out with a 7-iron from 160 yards on the same 12th hole.
There were three eagles recently at Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course. John Ripepi eagled the third hole, Justin Mormile eagled the fifth hole and Kevin Devine eagled the 17th hole.
Harold Cropsey eagled the par-5 17th hole by sinking his 9-iron approach shot at The Edison Club.