Russo, Hayes overwhelm field

There is no mercy rule in golf. That helps explain why all three divisions of the annual Shaker Inv-
PHOTOGRAPHER:

There is no mercy rule in golf.

That helps explain why all three divisions of the annual Shaker Inv-itational resulted in routs Sunday at Shaker Ridge Country Club.

Dan Russo of Rolling Hills teamed with David Hayes of Schuyler Meadows to card a six-under-par 65 and a three-day total of 200 to run away with the championship division by six shots. Jim Cocca and Paul Serafin of the host club posted a 69-209 to take the first division by eight shots, and John Vaccaro of Wolferts Roost Country Club combined with Chuck Connolly of Hiland Golf Club for a 72-198 to capture the senior division by a whopping 11 strokes.

A total of 62 teams competed in the three divisions.

Russo and Hayes only had a one-shot lead over Rob Bigley and Robby Bigley Jr. of Pinehaven Country Club after the first two rounds, but they pulled away and ended up beating Ken Bessette of Van Schaick Island Country Club and Chad Stoffer of The Edison Club by a comfortable margin.

“Danny played great,” said Hayes. “He’s the best. We both played well all weekend, but Danny was just phenomenal.”

Russo and Hayes started off slowly with a bogey on the first hole, but they heated up at the end of the front nine with birdies on the seventh, eighth and ninth holes. They pulled away from the field with birdies on the 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th holes.

“We both played well,” said Russo, who recently captured the Capital Region Amateur Golf Association’s Stroke Play Champ-ionship at Mohawk Golf Club. “One guy doesn’t win a three-day partners tournament. Dave is very easy to play with. There is no bull with Dave. You just play golf, and you can count on him under pressure. He never makes a mistake under pressure.”

Russo said the key to his team’s round was putting.

“We made a couple of long putts, and that really got us going,” he said.

Russo and Hayes, who have won numerous area best-ball tourn-aments, will team up in the Wolferts Roost Invitational and the Oak Hill Invitational in the next month.

Vaccaro and Connolly won their second consecutive senior division crown. Connolly, who collected his eighth career hole-in-one on the 133-yard third hole with a wedge during the opening round, and Vaccaro, the defending New York State Mid-Amateur champion, combined for just two birdies on Sunday, but they had 17 birdies and an eagle over the three-day event.

“We were just trying to win the tournament and get out of here,” said Vaccaro. “It was a lot of fun all weekend. We hit it close and made a lot of putts over the first two days. The pins were a lot tougher in the final round, but we didn’t have to be as aggressive with an eight-shot lead.”

RESULTS

(Par 71-213)

Championship Division — Dan Russo-David Hayes 65-200, Ken Bessette-Chad Stoffer 67-206, Rob Bigley-Robby Bigley Jr. 72-208, Chris Braman-Nick Braman 69-209, Dave Wellington-Kevin Cook 75-212, Justin Deitz-Jim Gifford 73-212, David Shea-Jim Lacy 69-214, Joe Macaluso-Matt Horton 70-215, Jerry Wander-Bill McCarthy 75-216, Steve Owens-Tim Owens 74-216, Richard Rivanara-Bob Charno 7-216, Michael Trunzo-Kevin Cassidy 71-216, Greg Bennett-TJ Hesnor 69-216, Steve Lowe-Dave Hunter 75-218, Mark Thornhill-Brett Bushinger 74-218, Dave Skoney-Randy Duncan 76-219, Brandon Haase-John Nolan 76-221, Dick Field-Andy Gangemi 79-224, John Mendrysa-Jim Mendrysa 81-225, Fernando Mele-Andrew Weise 74-228l.

First Division — Jim Cocca-Paul Serafin 69-209, Mike Wheeler-Tom Salmon 72-217, Eric Wasserbach-Brandan Allen 76-219, Jeff Kelley-Kevin O’Leary 70-219, Steve Quillinan Jr.-Sam Spitalny 76-221, Bryan Gorman-Seth Adams 74-221, John Barscz-Ron Patterson 78-222, Stan Moore-Bill Tooney 74-222, Chris Barach-Bryan Barach 71-222, Fred Guzielek-Bill Sullivan 76-223.

Senior Division — John Vaccaro-Chuck Connolly 72-198, Gary Grimaldi-Mike Daniels 71-209, Al Stranahan-Paul Lundberg 73-210, Mike Bayus-Doug Vergith 72-211, Ron Trischetta-Keith Boice 73-214, Bob Ippolito-Rick Stevens 70-214, Paul Hart-Kevin Broderick 69-215, Michael VanBuren-Stan Milos 72-215, Larry DeCosmo-Fred Benedetto 71-216, Neil Golub-Mike Carroll 72-219, Rocky Cocca-Bob Jordan 73-219.

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