The annual U.S. Open Local Qualifier, to be held Tuesday at Albany Country Club, will be a homecoming for several competitors.
Bryan Bigley, the former Siena College and Pinehaven Country Club standout who has won four times on the mini tours since turning professional last fall, is back, along with former Cobleskill Golf & Country Club head pro Dal Daily, who now works in Albuquerque. Daily was a five-time Northeastern New York PGA Player of the Year.
Scotia native Ron Philo Jr., who has returned to the region numerous times at this qualifier, is also back. Philo, son of former local club pro Ron Philo Sr. and brother of LPGA standout Laura Diaz, won the 2006 PGA National Championship at Turning Stone Resort, and was a five-time Section Player of the Year. He also has appeared in eight major championships.
Amsterdam native Len Bush, now living in Sea Cliff as a head pro, also will return to the area, along with former Saratoga National assistant pro Bob Cain, who now lives in Rye.
A total of 37 professionals and 30 amateurs will be competing for four qualifying spots. The top four players advance to 36 holes of sectional play for the right to compete in the U.S. Open, set for June 18-21 at Bethpage State Park’s Black Course on Long Island.
Top local pros competing include Jeremy Kerr of Mohawk Golf Club, Albany Country Club assistant pro Matt Felber, Tom Oppedisano of Galaxy Golf, Kevin Hughes of Saratoga Golf & Polo Club, Trevor Jaycox of Oneonta Country Club, Scott Berliner of Shaker Ridge Country Club, Glenn Davis of Albany Country Club, John Neet of Normanside Country Club, Kyle Sleasman of Schuyler Meadows, Michael Stefanik of Pioneer Hills, Frank Mellet of Colonie Golf & Country Club and Steve Vatter of Capital Hills at Albany.
Among the top amateurs in the field are two-time CRAGA point champion Dan Russo of Rolling Hills at Antlers, two-time and defending CRAGA point champion John Vaccaro of Wolferts Roost Country Club, two-time Tri-County Golf Association Match Play champ Dave Mooradian of Country Club of Troy, Jim Cocca of Shaker Ridge Country Club, Ryan Prinzo of Normanside Country Club, former TCGA Match Play and Saratoga County Amateur champ Jim Gifford of The Edison Club, current TCGA Match Play champ Steve Quillinan Jr. of the Country Club of Troy, Ryan Simpson of Ballston Spa Country Club, Nicholas Longo of Albany Country Club, Joe Macaluso of Saratoga National, Chad Stoffer of The Edison Club, Justin Deitz of The Edison Club, Todd
Czepiel of Shaker Ridge CC and Jeb Buchanan of Wolferts Roost CC.
7:30 — Philippe-Andre Bannon, Bob Cain; 7:39 — Dan Russo, Ryan Durnberg; 7:48 — John Vaccaro, Jeremy Kerr, Justin Whipple; 7:57 — Tim DiStefano, Gregg Cuthill, John Korniak; 8:06 — Andrew Ugalde, Steve Pedersen, Tony Pranzo; 8:15 — David Mooradian, Douglas Novogrodsky, Matt Felber; 8:24 — Jim Cocca, Ryan Prinzo, Tom Oppedisano; 8:33 — Jim Gifford, Ron Philo Jr., Wesley Cupp; 8:42 — Stephen Quillinan Jr., Ryan Simpson, Kevin Hughes; 8:51 — Nicholas Longo, Trevor Jaycox, Scott Berliner; 9:00 — Chris DeJohn, Dal Daily, Glenn Davis; 9:09 — Justin Harris, Tye Grissom, Joshua Truman; 9:18 — Michael Duncan, Mark Benz, Richard Scott; 9:27 — Mathieu Rivard, John Neet, Kyle Sleasman; 9:36 — Patrick Forbes, Ben Boudreau, Michael Stefanik; 9:45 — Michael Paglialonga, Brian Thomas, Joey Fitzsimmons; 9:54 — Michael Fisher, Joe Macaluso, Len Bush; 10:03 — Chad Stoffer, Frank Mellet, Bryan Bigley; 10:12 — Justin Deitz, Jeffrey Schaller, Benoit Lemieux; 10:21 — Chris Gambacurta, Taylor Walsh, Steve Vatter; 10:30 — Todd Czepiel, Jeb Buchanan, John Appleget; 10:39 — Mike Tulacz, John DeForest, Jocelyn Palardeau; 10:48 —Gregory Levings, Matt McMahon, Jeff MacDonald.
A DIFFERENT IDEA
The seventh annual Gazette Cup between the Northeastern New York PGA and the Capital Region Amateur Golf Association Wednesday at Albany Country Club was another huge success.
The pros rallied from a seven-point deficit at the turn to win their fourth straight title, 32-22. There were three points available for each individual match and each best-ball match for a total of 54 points. One point was awarded for the front nine, one for the back nine and one for total. The 12 players from each team were chosen from the respective organization’s point list.
Although this format has worked fairly well for the last few years, I would love to see the tournament expanded to 36 holes, which was our original intent.
I know both the pros and the amateurs have tight schedules, but if we started the event at 8 a.m., rather than 10 a.m., and played an alternate-shot format in the morning, we still would have plenty of time to have individual match play in the afternoon.
I think the confusion of playing both team and individual matches at the same time would be cleared up, and the competition would be easier to follow.
I’m hoping to see this change for next season, and I’ll keep you posted. I’ve heard some feedback from the amateurs, and most like the idea. I haven’t heard much from the pros yet, and I expect that there may be some time constraints. But I think if we expanded the 12-player rosters so that if the players who couldn’t compete in both formats had substitutes, everything would work out great.
I again thank all the competitors for making this event one of the most interesting and enjoyable of the season.
— The Shaker Invitational has changed its dates again, from Aug. 29-31 to Aug. 28-30. The popluar best-ball event used to be held earlier in August.
— Paul Jaycox of Oneonta Country Club won the Northeastern New York Pro Classic event at Saratoga Golf & Polo Club last week with a four-under-par 66. Jaycox rolled in six birdies. Anders Matson of Saratoga National Golf Club, was second with a 68.
— Local players made a solid showing at the New York State PGA Junior Championship at Leatherstocking Golf Club last weekend. Ryan Simpson of Mechanicville was tied for fifth (71-78-149), Victor Fox of Delmar was tied for 13th (77-79-156), Seth Adams of Schenectady was tied for 19th (76-83-159), Aaron Simone of Niskayuna was tied for 31st (82-86-168), Animesh Hajela of Loudonville was tied for 34th (83-86-169) with Delmar’s Riley McGraw (85-84-169), Clifton Park’s Scott Brayden (85-87-172) was tied for 41st and Dylan Gladd of Rensselaer was tied for 46th (97-94-191).
In the girls’ division, Hudson’s Stephanie Bednar was fifth (86-90-176), Jessica Madsen of Slingerlands was sixth (90-89-179), Queensbury’s Lauren Kelleher was 14th (100-94-194) and Jenn Murphy of Clifton Park was 15th (99-98-197),
— Saratoga Hospital Foundation’s FOX23 News Golf Invitational will be held June 1 at Saratoga National Golf Club. Proceeds will help support nursing education. Last year’s event raised more than $110,000. For more information, contact Rachel Wheatley of the Saratoga Hospital Foundation at 583-8779.
— The Edison Club will host the third annual Donna M. Crandall Memorial Foundation Golf Tournament June 1. Proceeds will help raise money for Cystic Fibrosis families receiving care at Albany Medical Center. Entry fee is $125, and covers cost of golf, lunch, dinner and a tax-deductible donation to the Donna M. Crandall Foundation. For more information, conact Lynette June at [email protected]
— Mike Demars shot a one- under-par 70 for his career-low round at Amsterdam Municipal.
— The fifth annual Christina Mass Memorial Tournament will be held July 10 at Eagle Crest Golf Club. The four-person scramble begins at 8:30 a.m. Entry fee is $90, and includes golf, continental breakfast, lunch at the turn, beverages and hot/cold dinner buffet. There also will be many contests and door prizes. All proceeds will go to the Christina Mass Memorial Scholarship. For additional information, call Frank or Deb at 877-6257.
— The 13th annual YMCA Charity Golf Classic will be held Aug. 3 at Wolferts Roost Country Club. There will be both a morning best-ball tournament and an afternoon scramble tournament at 7:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., respectively. The morning round will be limited to the first 100 golfers, while the afternoon round will be limited to the first 144 golfers. Entry fee is $225 per person or $900 per foursome. For more information, call Amy Ellis at 869-3500, ext. 9921.
Chuck Alescio aced the 177-yard eighth hole with a 7-wood at Stadium Golf Club.
Also at Stadium, John Crandall collected his first ace in 50 years of playing golf with a hybrid on the 141-yard fifth hole.
At Fox Run Golf Club, Gary Collar used an 8-iron to hole out on the 14th hole.
Rich Campbell recorded a hole-in-one on the 150-yard 16th hole with an 8-iron at Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course.
Also at Amsterdam Municipal, Ron Masone aced the same 150-yard 16th hole with a 4-hybrid.
Earl Lawrence eagled the 18th hole at Van Patten.
Also at Van Patten, Gary Kremzier eagled the par-4 eighth hole.
Tim Tegiacchi of Hank’s golf league eagled the first hole at Cobleskill Golf & Country Club.
At Western Turnpike Golf Course, Steve Keeler collected his first eagle on the first hole on the white nine. He holed out with a pitching wedge from 85 yards.
Pete DeJohn chipped in for eagle on the ninth hole while playing in the Falvo Insurance league at Schenectady Municipal.
Frank Bleakley posted an eagle on the par-4 seventh hole while competing in the Mohawk Valley Golf League at Schenectady Municipal.
At Airway Meadows Dean Holtby holed out for eagle on the 292-yard, par-4 fourth hole.
At Amsterdam Municipal, Frank Jablonski eagled the third hole, and Mike Arminio eagled the 10th hole.
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