Down the Fairway: Saratoga County Am looks like Tozier’s swan song
Call it a memorable going-away present.
When DJ Tozier won last weekend’s Saratoga County Amateur Golf Championship, he felt some mixed emotions.
Tozier, a Shenendehowa graduate who plays out of Western Turnpike, nipped Justin Deitz of The Edison Club on the first extra hole to win the two-day championship held at Eagle Crest Golf Club and Ballston Spa CC.
Although it was a feather in his cap, Tozier said it may be his last local challenge. He is moving to Georgia on July 8, where he will be playing for Columbus University.
“I’m not sure if I’ll be playing in anything from here on out this summer,” said Tozier, who was also one of the two local players, along with Mohawk Golf Club’s Jim Gifford, who qualified for sectional play in this year’s U.S. Open.
“It’s not worth it for me to try to qualify for the State Amateur [July 2], because I won’t be around for the tournament later that month.
“But it’s been a great summer, and I can’t be mad about not playing anymore. I’m excited about the move and the opportunity to play college golf. I’m sure I’ll play some golf in Georgia, but I’m not sure it will be tournament golf.”
Tozier, who has sharpened his game over the years with Western Turnpike head pro Herb Moreland, said he treated his appearance in the Saratoga County Amateur like any other major tournament.
“I just went out and played. I had no expectations,” he said. “I went out on both days and tried to shoot the best I could. I wouldn’t say it was too tough a test at either course. I got to practice them both beforehand, and I was ready to play last weekend.”
Tozier said it didn’t bother him that Eagle Crest and Ballston Spa are two distinctly different layouts.
“Every course is different, but I’ve played them both many times before,” he said. “I had a game plan, and I knew what I was going to hit on every hole. I hit my driver quite a bit at Eagle Crest, but not as much at Ballston Spa.”
Tozier, currently third on the Capital Region Amateur Golf Association player of the year points list, said he enjoyed the playoff.
“It was awesome. I wasn’t really nervous at all. It was more of a feeling of excitement,” he said. “Obviously, I had just played a great round, so there was no reason to be nervous in the playoff. There were a few people watching us in the playoff, because they had hung around after playing themselves, but it was a lot of fun.”
Ron Philo Sr., the former local club pro and father of current LPGA Tour star Laura Diaz, will be heading south in a few weeks to live in the North Carolina area.
Philo, who has been giving golf clinics and lessons in Cooperstown the last few summers, is in the process of selling his two homes. He and his wife will be moving to be closer to their daughter, whose husband, Kevin Diaz, was named the assistant coach of the Wake Forest University women’s golf team.
Kevin Diaz has been Laura’s caddy since 2006. He began his golf instruction as an assistant pro at Bloomington Country Club in Indiana and later joined the Ron Philo School of Golf in 1998 as a staff assistant. He became the director of the Amelia Island facility in 2000 and served there for six years.
Philo was in town to compete in the recent Ellis Hospital Pro-Am at Mohawk Golf Club.
Gifford is currently leading the CRAGA player of the year points list with 150.67 points.
Gifford teamed up with his father, Mike, to win the Stadium Classic this spring and picked up more points when he qualified for U.S. Open sectional play.
Victor Fox of Normanside Country Club is second with 140 points. He was the medalist of the New York State Open local qualifier and also won the Albany County Amateur.
Rounding out the top 10 are Tri-County Match Play champion Chris Barach of Mohawk GC (114), former Troy Invitational, Eagle Crest Shootout and Albany County Amateur titlist Don DeNyse III of Capital Hills (113.67), Steve Quillinan Jr. of the CC of Troy (97), three-time Troy Invitational champion Jim Welch of Olde Kinderhook (91.5), Deitz (87.83), Dan Russo of Rolling Hills at Antlers (68.50) and James Belogna of Shaker Ridge (62.62).
NEW SHOOTOUT FORMAT
The popular Eagle Crest Shootout, scheduled for July 12, will have a new format this year.
Instead of an 18-hole individual medal-play qualifier, the tournament will be an 18-hole partners event. There will be an open and a senior division. Then, instead of the top 10 advancing to a nine-hole shootout, the top teams in each of the open and senior divisions will advance. The number of teams in the shootout will be determined by how many entries there are.
More than likely, the shootout will be four or five holes, rather than nine, because two-man teams will be competing instead of individuals.
Entry fee is $160 per team, including cart and lunch. Call 877-7082 for more information.
• The Lady Hilltoppers Basketball Golf Outing will be held July 14 at Mohawk Valley Golf & Country Club in Little Falls, which features a new back nine designed by famed course architecht Pete Dye. Entry fee for the four-person scramble is $60 and includes golf, cart, picnic dinner and prizes. Golf begins at 1:30 p.m., with registration at 12:30. For information, contact Phil Karker at 844-6943 or email@example.com.
• Briar Creek will host the 34th annual Rotterdam Sunrise Rotary Memorial Tournament Aug. 14. Entry fee is $125 and includes golf, Continental breakfast, burgers and hot dogs at the turn, refreshments on the course and a pig roast for dinner. Chicken and vegetarian meals are available upon request at registration. The format will be a scramble, beginning at 9 a.m. For more information, call Frank Pecoraro (365-1003) or Milan Jackson (378-4350).
• There are a couple of openings left for the 22nd annual ALS Memorial Open, set for Wednesday at Van Patten. Call Scott Daly at 377-2236 by Monday morning.
• Normanside CC assistant Scott Berliner and Colonie Golf & CC assistant Ian Breen will be competing in the 45th annual PGA National Championship today in northern California. Berliner is the reigning NENYPGA Player of the Year.
• Former New York Yankees second baseman and New York Mets manager Willie Randolph will be the featured guest at the 28th annual Center for Disability Services Golf Classic July 23 at Albany CC. The tournament, which will have a 12:30 p.m. shotgun start, will feature a pro-am format with the club pros from the Northeastern New York PGA. Entry fee is $350 and includes lunch, golf and a cocktail, Q&A with Randolph. Call Karen Coleman at 944-2107 for information.
• The Adams family (father Clark, sons Seth, Connor and Kyle) shot a 58 to win the second annual Tyler DeMarco Foundation Fore Hope Golf Tournament at Western Turnpike. A field of 168 competed, with proceeds benefitting the fight against childhood cancer.
• The team of Lynn Yost, Sarah Maiello, Dor Loomis and Lyn Semprevio shot a 71 to win the Nick Stoner ladies golf league four-person scramble recently.
• Local pros will team up with area juniors in the NENYPGA Pro-Junior Championship Monday at Pinehaven Country Club.
• Brookhaven Golf Club hosts the next Eastern New York Golf Association stop Wednesday.
• The Northeastern Women’s Golf Association’s next event is the Gail Sykes Best Ball event at Saratoga National July 7.
• The Salute Military Golf Association, New York chapter, will host a tournament to benefit the combat-wounded of the Iraq/Afghanistan wars Saturday at 10 a.m. at Brookhaven. The scramble is open to the public. Proceeds will be used to teach wounded warriors suffering from loss of a limb, as well as from other horrific injuries, how to play golf as part of their rehabilitation. Contact Frank P. Dorchak Jr. at 483-6272 for more information.
• Western Turnpike will host the first Puttin’ for Kids Golf Fundraiser July 27 to benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital Region Inc. All proceeds from the scramble, which is sponsored by the Darcie Trapasso Tennis Camp, go to Ronald McDonald House’s family housing expansion. Entry is $500 per foursome, and includes golf, cart, breakfast, lunch, beverages on the course, cocktail hour, dinner and gift bag. There will be a 9 a.m. shotgun start. For more information, contact Joe Trapasso at 438-0870 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• The Joe Merendo Invitational Swing Fore Kids will be held Aug. 10 at Amsterdam Municipal. The four-person scramble begins with a noon shotgun. Entry fee is $100, and includes golf, lunch, prime rib dinner, Titleist grab bag and prizes. Proceeds will help raise funds to benefit local junior golfers through Merendo’s summer clinics, and will also help support local high school golf teams. Call Joe the Pro or Laura at the Amsterdam Municipal pro shop for more information.
• Olde Kinderhook GC will host the local qualifier for the 65th annual U.S. Junior Amateur Tuesday. Among the top local players will be Hunter Donovan and Tanner Donovan of Wolferts Roost, Zach Scala of Van Schaick Island, Aaron Simone of Pinehaven, Matt Parraottino of Albany CC, Jon Pick of Eagle Crest, Corey Purcell of Shaker Ridge and Victor Fox of Normanside.
• The Gazette’s 15th annual Capital Region Newspaper in Education Junior Golf Tournament is scheduled for Aug. 3 at Schenectady Municipal. Entry fee is $35 for the 8 a.m. shotgun event, that includes lunch and prizes. The competition will be divided into the boys’ 12-14, boys’ 15-18 and girls’ 12-18 age divisions, with gross and net prizes in both. Entry deadline is July 23.
• Rotterdam Elks Lodge No. 2157 will host a junior golf tournament July 17 at 8:45 a.m. at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course. This event is a local qualifier for a statewide Elks tournament in August, and the winners should be ready to commit to going to that tournament with a chaperone. There will be age divisions for boys and girls 12-14 years old, 15-16 and 17-18. No caddies or coaches will be allowed. Entry fee is $28, and includes golf, a sleeve of balls and lunch. The tournament is limited to 48 players, and entry deadline is July 13. Contact Muny head pro Brian Damon at 382-5155 for more information.
• Amsterdam Municipal will host the Dolly Day Tournament on July 27. The event is named after Dolly Lazarou, who held the course record for many years with a 64. Proceeds will go to the United Way of Montgomery County. Contact Amsterdam Municipal for more information.
• Stadium Golf Club will host a summer golf league for junior boys and girls on Mondays at 12:45 p.m., Tuesdays at 12:15 or Wednesdays at 1, beginning the week of June 25 and running for nine weeks. The cost is $175 per player, and includes golf, prizes, driving range punch card, a Titleist hat, Titleist Solo golf balls, two one-hour clinics and lunch during the final week. Call Stadium at 374-9104, Ext. 1, for more information. Entry forms can be downloaded from the StadiumGolfClub.com website.
At Van Patten Golf Club, Paul Hogan won $100,000 when his 7-iron shot fell into the cup for a hole-in-one on the sixth hole during the P&J Computer golf outing.
Also at Van Patten, Glenn Gerber aced the fourth hole with a 4-wood, while Frank Budzenski holed out with an 8-iron on the 15th hole.
John Burns aced the 137-yard second hole with a 9-iron at Cobleskill Golf & Country Club while competing in the Eastern New York Golf Association weekly tournament there.
Zach Phillips wielded a pitching wedge to hole out on the 110-yard 17th hole at Whispering Pines.
Also at Whispering Pines, David Sindoni collected a hole-in-one with a pitching wedge on the 95-yard 10th hole.
Brian Kelsey posted a hole-in-one on the 165-yard seventh hole on the red nine at Western Turnpike Golf Club. It was only the second hole-in-one ever since the Department of Health league was formed in 1954.
Two aces were recorded at Shaker Ridge Country Club. Jeff Faulkner used an 8-iron for his hole-in-one on the first hole, and Bruce Balderston aced the 12th hole, using a 3-wood.
Rich Vonk recorded his second career hole-in-one with an 8-iron on the 134-yard third hole at Eagle Crest Golf Club.
At Hales Mills Country Club, Bill Rogers aced the 150-yard 11th hole with a 7-iron.
Frank Falvo eagled the 12th hole while competing in the Falvo Insurance league at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course.
Randy Hines eagled the third hole while playing in the Coldwell Banker-Randy Hines No. 2 league at Stadium.
Also at Stadium, Stan Norman holed out for an eagle-2 on the 285-yard fourth hole.
At Amsterdam Municipal, Ethan Kreisel, Carl DeRose and Tim Bramer eagled the 10th hole, while Jeff Cornell eagled the 17th.