Pros crush amateurs in Gazette Cup

Pros from the Northeastern New York PGA crush a team of Capital Region amateurs in the sixth annual
NENY PGA Team player Peter Gerard of Mill Road Golf Course, tees off at the Albany Country Club during the 2008 Gazette Cup Wednesday.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
NENY PGA Team player Peter Gerard of Mill Road Golf Course, tees off at the Albany Country Club during the 2008 Gazette Cup Wednesday.

Complete domination.

That’s the only way to describe the way the pros from the Northeastern New York PGA played against the Capital Region amat­eurs in the sixth annual Gazette Cup Wednesday at Albany Country Club.

The onslaught started with a chip-in birdie on the opening hole by Capital Hills at Albany head pro Steve Vatter, who continued his fine play with a near ace and another birdie on the par-3 fifth hole. Defending NENYPGA Player of the Year Peter Gerard of Mill Road Acres added five birdies to help his team post both individual and team sweeps, while long-hitting Bob Meheran of Cobleskill Golf & Country Club and Tom Sull­ivan of Wyantenuck Country Club also posted a 3-0 team sweep as the pros crushed the amateurs, 441⁄2-91⁄2, in the most one-sided competition in tournament history.

After the front nine, the pros already had a 171⁄2-1⁄2 lead. There were nine points available in each foursome, with three points awarded for the team match (front side, back side and total) and three points awarded to each individual match. The pros, who lead the

series, 4-2, already had the 27 points they needed to retain the cup by the time the third group finished. Several matches ended well before the 18th hole.

“It was a pleasure watching this competition and rooting the pros on,” said Rick Wright, The Edison Club head pro who served as the NENYPGA’s honorary captain. “The reason everyone loves playing in this is the competition There are no big dollar bills up for grabs here. It’s just for pride.”

Wright acknowledged that there are very good reasons why the pros sometimes dominate this compet­ition.

“Our team is very strong this year, and a lot of the guys played in Florida this winter and kept sharp. Playing this early is also a little bit of an advantage to the pros, who are ready to go. Some of the amateurs haven’t played that much yet. If this was played in July, for example, the amateurs might have an advantage, because the pros are too busy to play much by then.”

“I’m surprised by the outcome,” said Gerard. “There are a lot of good amateurs on their team, but Rick [Pohle] and I played very well, especially on the back side.”

Meheran was another one of the area pros who had his game clicking on all cylinders. Along with is team sweep, he also swept his ind­ividual match against Shaker Ridge Country Club’s Michael Wheeler.

“You can’t show the amateurs any mercy. We’re playing for pride,” Meheran said. “Tom and I played very well today. When the amateurs are down like that, you can’t let them back up.”

Vatter and host pro Glenn Davis had one of the toughest matchups among the pros, as they faced two-time amateur point champion Dan Russo of Antlers at Rolling Hills Country Club with fellow long hitter Dave Hayes of Schuyler Meadows.

“I started out with a bad approach shot on the first hole, and I thought we were going to get behind right off the bat, but then I chipped in for birdie, and it turned things around very quickly,” said Vatter, who used to be an assistant pro at Albany CC and knows the course extremely well. “We also birdied the fifth, seventh, eighth and ninth holes on the front.”

“There were quite a few birdies in our match,” said Davis, who reached the par-5 18th hole in two and had a 15-foot eagle putt.

“Luckily, they gave me the two-footer for birdie,” Davis said with a laugh. “We had a great time.”

The amateurs enjoyed the competition, but didn’t like the result one bit.

“What are you supposed to do when your opponents have seven birdies and no bogeys against you?” asked Russo. “There’s nothing you can do. I’m a realist. The best team always wins, and today, they were definitely the best team.”

“We have no excuses,” added CC of Troy’s Dave Mooradian. “We had some birdies in our match, but our opponents played too well today.”

Ian Breen of Canajoharie Country Club and Jeremy Kerr of Oneonta Country Club also posted sweeps in their individual matches for the pros. The best performances by the amateurs were individual match splits by John Vaccaro of Wolferts Roost Country Club and Jim Mueller of Orchard Creek.

LEADERBOARD

Pros 441⁄2, Amateurs 91⁄2

Team matches: Peter Gerard-Rick Pohle (Pros) def. Dave Mooradian-Joe Quillinan,

3-0; Steve Vatter-Glenn Davis (Pros) def. Dave Hayes-Dan Russo, 2-1; Tom Sullivan-Bob Meheran (Pros) def. John Vaccaro-Michael Wheeler, 3-0; Jeremy Kerr-Keith Sprenger (Pros) def. David Arakelian-Jon-Michael Socaris, 21⁄2-1⁄2; Ian Breen-Josh Hillman (Pros) def. Jim Cocca-Steve Owens, 2-1; Frank Mellet-Tom Siddon (Pros) def. Aaron AuBuchon-Jim Mueller, 2-1.

Individual matches: Gerard def. Moorad­ian, 3-0; Pohle def. Quillinan, 3-0; Vatter def. Hayes, 21⁄2-1⁄2, Davis def. Russo, 21⁄2-1⁄2; Sullivan tied Vaccaro, 11⁄2-11⁄2; Meheran def. Wheeler, 3-0; Kerr def Arakelian, 3-0; Sprenger def. Socaris, 21⁄2-1⁄2; Breen def. Cocca, 3-0; Hillman def. Owens, 2-1; Mellet def. AuBuchon, 21⁄2-1⁄2; Siddon tied Mueller, 11⁄2-11⁄2.

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