Green position key for amateurs, pros

Amateurs take on the pros today in the sixth annual Gazette Cup at Albany Country Club.
PHOTOGRAPHER:

At all costs, keep the ball below the hole.

That’s Albany Country Club head pro Glenn Davis’ advice for all of the competitors in today’s sixth annual Gazette Cup.

The pros from the Northeastern New York PGA lead the

series against the Capital Region’s top amateurs, 3-2, but Davis said both the pros and the amateurs will have trouble if they don’t place their shots on the correct parts of the tricky greens at Albany CC.

“I still tell people that no matter how tough our greens can be, the real key is your approach shot,” said the 41-year-old Syracuse University graduate. “You can be the best putter in the world, but if you’re on the wrong side of the cup, it doesn’t matter how good of a putter you are. You need to put the ball in the right place to be successful.”

Davis, a regular in the Gazette Cup events, follows his own advice on every course he plays. One of the top players on the NENYPGA team, Davis still owns the course record (61) at Mohawk Golf Club and won the section’s national club professional championship qual­ifier in 2001. He has also reached the second state of qualifying for the U.S. Open on three occasions.

“Everything in my game depends on the putter,” he said. “I had some crazy ideas of my own on putting, but I spent about five weeks total in Florida this winter. I particpated in the PGA’s Winter Series in Port St. Lucie, and I also worked on my putting with [Western Turnpike head pro] Herb Moreland. He got me to square up and change my routine. Now, I’ve got more confidence, and when you’ve got confidence on the greens, it carries over to the rest of your game.”

Twelve players from each team will square off in both individual and team match play, with three points available (front side, back side and total) for each match. There are 54 total points available. The pros need 27 to retain the

Gazette Cup, while the Capital

Region amateurs need 271⁄2.

“I really like playing against the amateurs,” said Davis. “I enjoy playing against good golfers, and I like the competition. I’ve always said that just because we have the name professional, that doesn’t mean we’re necessarily any better than the amateurs. Some of the amateurs in our area are as good as the pros, but they choose to do something else for a living.”

Admission is free, but spectators are advised to wear proper golf

attire. No jeans will be allowed.

According to Albany Country Club president Bill Young, all of the competitors will enjoy the recent changes at his club, which is the 36th oldest in the country.

“We have hosted both the New York State Amateur and the New York State Open before, and we’re hosting the State Amateur again in 2010,” he said. “We have restructured both the seventh and eighth greens, and we’ve also reworked the second green.

“We’re very proud of our club. Billy Shields was a member of our club, and he won three New York State Amatuers and also played in the U.S. Open as an amateur. We’ve also had many notable players compete at our club, like Al Jolson and former Gov. Al Smith.”

The pros, with honorary captain Rick Wright of The Edison Club, will be paced by 2007 player of the year Peter Gerard of Mill Road Acres and former section match play champs Jeremy Kerr of Oneonta

Country Club and Ian Breen of Canajoharie Country Club. Taconic Golf Club head pro Rick Pohle has been added to the team, replacing Paul Jaycox. Other pros are Steve Vatter (Capital Hills at Albany), Tom Sullivan (Wyan­tenuck CC), Bob Meheran (Cobleskill G&CC), Keith Sprenger (Catskill GC), Josh Hillman (Berkshire Hills CC), Frank Mellet (Colonie G&CC) and Tom Siddon (Massena CC).

Dan Russo of Rolling Hills at Antlers, a two-time Capital Region amateur point list champion who recently turned 50, tops the amat­eur team.

“I just hope we can compete this year,” he said. “We don’t want to be rolled over like we were last year.”

Joe Quillinan of the Country Club of Troy, originally the honorary captain, will replace CC of Troy’s Matt Clarke on the amateur squad, which also includes Dave Moorad­ian and David Arakelian of the CC of Troy, Jon-Michael Soc­aris of Capital Hills, David Hayes of Schuyler Meadows, former New York State Mid-Amateur champion John Vaccaro of Wolferts Roost CC, Mike Wheeler and Jim Cocca of Shaker Ridge CC, Steve Owens of Normanside CC, Aaron

AuBuchon of Saratoga Golf & Polo and five-time Gazette County Amat­eur titlist Jim Mueller of Orchard Creek.

PAIRINGS

10:00 — Gerard-Pohle (Pros) vs. Moor­adian-Socaris (Amateurs).

10:10 — Vatter-Davis (Pros) vs. Hayes-Russo (Amateurs).

10:20 — Sullivan-Meheran (Pros) vs. Vaccaro-Wheeler (Amateurs).

10:30 — Kerr-Sprenger (Pros) vs. Arak­elian-Quillinan (Amateurs).

10:40 — Breen-Hillman (Pros) vs. Cocca-Owens (Amateurs).

10:50 — Mellet-Siddon (Pros) vs. Au­Buchon-Mueller (Amateurs).

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