Mid-Amateur tournaments were developed for the 25-and-over golfer who works for a living.
Work was the optimum word for the 55-player field in the 28th annual New York State Mid-Amateur Albany Region Qualifier Wednesday at Pinehaven Country Club.
Slick greens, running at better than 12 on the Stimpmeter, and challenging pin positions led to high scores at one of the region’s most scenic venues.
When the smoke cleared, Dan Russo, the area’s hottest amateur player, earned medalist honors with a one-over-par 72 and led a field of 27 players who qualified for the Sept. 23-25 event at Dutchess Golf & Country Club.
The cut number was 81, and many players left early thinking that they had no chance of earning a berth.
Although most players struggled, Russo, winner of the Capital Region Amateur Golf Association Stroke Play Championship and the Edison Invitational in the last week or so, continued his recent hot streak with three birdies to offset four bogeys, three of which were three-putts.
“The course was in gorgeous condition,” said the 53-year-old member of Rolling Hills at Antlers. “I kept it in play pretty well, but the greens were challenging. I hit some squirrelly shots out there, but for the most part, I played pretty well.”
Russo birdied the par-3 ninth hole and two of the three par-5s on the 6,496-yard layout.
Tied for second were Shaker Ridge Country Club assistant course superintendent Todd Czepiel, former winner of the Eagle Crest Shootout, and Robby Bigley Jr. of the host course.
“I’m just a country club player now,” said Bigley, a three-time Gazette County Amateur champion who returns to his job as a teacher at Albany Academy in two weeks. “I haven’t played much since I failed to qualify for the U.S. Amateur.”
Qualifiers — Dan Russo 72, Todd Czepiel 75, Robby Bigley Jr. 75, John Cave 76, Patrick Seelye 76, Jay Gargiulo 77, Steve Bass 77, David Arakelian 78, Tom Howe 79, Kirk Helm 79, George Roe Jr. 79, John Nolan 79, Mike Wheeler 79, Dennis McGowan 80, David Huestis 80, Chris Gilbet 80, Tom Salmon 80, Mike McCarroll 80, Kevin Cassidy 80, Peter Broderick 81, Andrew Weise 81, Skip Carrk 81, Paul Hart 81, Karl Dahl 81, Lance Hope 81, Eric Wasserbach 81, Adam Bunkoff 81.