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Simone seeks Gazette County Am title

Sunday, June 8, 2014
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After years of veteran domination, maybe it’s time again for the young kids to step up and grab a Gazette County Amateur Golf Championship.

If so, Aaron Simone just could be the guy to do it.

Simone, a former Gazette Newspaper in Education Capital District Junior titlist in both age divisions, just completed his freshman year at Rider, where he was the No. 3 player and finished in the top 25 in a couple of events.

“This spring has been really good for me and the team,” said the Pinehaven Country Club standout. “The team improved by about nine strokes, and we contended in a lot of events.”

Simone said it took a little getting used to the college game.

“We play tougher and longer courses in college. They are more demanding,” he said. “Sometimes in high school, you didn’t need your driver on some of the courses. But in college, you need to hit it quite a bit. I’ve worked on my driver a lot this spring, and I have a lot of confidence in it.”

Simone, who was a five-year letter winner and three-time captain on the Niskayuna golf team, said to win the County Amateur, he will have to go for the pins and not be cautious.

“I plan on playing pretty aggressively,” he said. “Since I’m hitting my driver so well, I could hit it quite a few times on the back nine. The front side is a little different. If I drive it well, I could have a chance.”

Most of the usual top contenders have also entered the County Amateur, set for Friday through Sunday at Schenectady Municipal. The low 40 and ties advance to the second round, and the low 20 and ties play for the title next Sunday. Only county residents, plus former champions, are eligible in this scratch event.

Former champions already signed up include seven-time winner Jim Mueller, two-time defending and six-time winner Paul Pratico, 2012 titlist Ben Bates, three-time champions Rob Bigley Jr., Mike Bayus, Bill Moll and Ed Chylinski; and 2002 winner Tom Salmon.

Entries close Monday.

MY TWO CENTS

I’ve been trying Wilson Staff’s Duo ball for the last week or so, and it’s a great ball for the price, just $19 per dozen. The ball reminds me of a Noodle. It has excellent length off the tee and is very soft around the greens, hence the name “Duo.”

The ball also comes in green. Maybe I’ll pick up another dozen and use it for the easy-to-follow shots. I need all the help I can get. I try to play Titlelist Pro V1s when I can, but they are pretty expensive.

By the way, I recently purchased a TaylorMade SLDR driver and I love it. I haven’t even tried to adjust the loft or face angle yet. I bought it with the face slightly closed in the hook position.

But I must admit that my other recent purchase, the SLDR 3-wood, is not faring as well. I’m having a hard time getting it airborne. Maybe I’ll have to adjust the loft. It’s currently set at 15 degrees, and I’ve only hit one or two decent shots with it so far.

Of course, the older I get, the worse I get, so it might not be the equipment at all.

Believe it or not, I’ve only been out seven times all season. The weather has been horrible, and I’ve been very busy this spring. Hoping for a better summer on the links.

CHIP SHOTS

u Airway Meadows will hold its annual Airway Cup July 4. The tournament follows a Ryder Cup format with two-player best ball match play. Entry fee for non-members is $80 and includes golf, cart, snack at the turn, barbecue picnic and prizes. Call 792-4144 for more information.

u The Saratoga County Amateur is set for Friday (tee times begin at 7 a.m.) at Eagle Crest and Saturday at The Edison Club. There will be an open division and a senior division for players 50 and older. The low 20 and ties advance to Saturday’s final round, which begins at noon. Entry fee is $75 and includes motorized carts for both rounds.

u Local qualifiers from the Northeastern New York PGA for the national Drive, Chip and Putt Championship will be July 12 at Town of Colonie and July 19 at Van Patten. For more in formation, contact the NENYPGA Web site.

u The entry deadline for the New York State Men’s Amateur Golf Championship will be Friday at 5 p.m. Entry fee is $100, but all players who qualify will be charged an additional $50, for a total fee of $150. To be eligible, players must be a member of the NYSGA and have an up-to-date handicap index of 7.4 or less.

u Sycamore Country Club in Ravena hosts the annual Eastern New York Golf Association’s Lou Torre Memorial Two-Man tournament Monday. The tournament is named after the late Gazette golf writer.

u Jackie (Barenborg) Stoelting from Vero Beach, Fla., made her rookie debut on the LPGA Tour this week at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic. Winner of Golf Channel’s Big Break Florida series, the daughter of Niskayuna native Ed Barenborg is currently competing on the Symetra Tour and has three top-10 finishes. She is currently in seventh place on the Volvik Race for the Card Money List.

u The New York State Golf Association Foundation has extended its application deadline to June 18 for the NYSGA Foundation, which will award $30,000 in scholarships to help students who hope for careers in the golf industry. For more information, go to the association’s website at http://nysga.org.

u Club professionals from the Northeastern New York PGA will compete in their first two-day major of the season, the Donald Ross Classic, today at The Sagamore Resort and Monday at Glens Falls Country Club.

u 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.

HOLES-IN-ONE

Dave Keeler connected with a pitching wedge on the 100-yard fifth hole for a hole-in-one at Saratoga Lake Golf Club.

Also at Saratoga Lake, Mike Martin found the cup with a 9-iron on the 117-yard third hole.

Still a third ace at Saratoga Lake Golf Club last week was posted by Bob Nelson on the 120-yard 14th hole with a pitching wedge.

At Stadium Golf Club, Jon Lathey holed out on the fifth hole for an ace while playing in the Coldwell Banker-Randy Hines No. 2 league.

Mary Leo, playing in the Couples league, registered her second career hole-in-one on the 150-yard 13th hole with a driver.

At Schenectady Municipal Golf Course, Pali Kill used an 8-iron for an ace on the 150-yard third hole.

Bridget Leaf hit a 5-iron for her hole-in-one on the 149-yard fifth hole on the blue nine at Western Turnpike Golf Course.

 
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