Humble and unassuming Lou Deal used to count a pair of spectator events as his most cherished memories in golf. After last weekend, an outstanding achievement moved to the top of his list.
The 64-year-old Amsterdam High School product won his first major tournament when he edged Kelly Borden in a one-hole playoff for the Amsterdam City Championship at Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course last weekend. Deal and Borden each shot 77 in the opening round and then both posted a 2-over-par 73 in the final round before heading back up the first hole for the playoff. Deal’s par sealed the deal, so to speak.
“I probably played the City Championship 20 times or so,” Deal recalled. “A few years ago, I think I won the third or fourth flight when I was just starting out. They had many more players back then, and you were flighted based on handicap. This is the first time I’ve done this well in the current format.”
Although Deal is certainly an accomplished player, he doesn’t take his accomplishments on the course too seriously.
“I just enjoy playing the game and getting out there with friends on the weekends,” he said. “I really like playing the game with different people of different calibers and watching them play.”
Before last weekend, Deal’s most memorable golf exploits were as an observer.
“Back in 2016, a friend of mine who plays out of Shaker Ridge Country Club got us tickets to the 2016 Masters down at Augusta, and I really liked watching those guys play,” he said.
“The other thing I really remember is that a local pro, Doug Mochrie, used to come over to the course every year after his father passed away to put on a memorial tournament. He was married to Dottie Pepper at the time, and we got to watch Doug and Dottie tee off and play. That was very interesting and enjoyable.”
Deal normally plays in a league on Monday nights and then plays in weekend events on Saturday and Sunday. Most of his buddies play nearly every day since they are retired.
“I’m still working full-time, and I’m looking forward to retiring and playing more,” Deal said. “I’ve been playing golf for more than 40 years. My mother-in-law and father-in-law taught me the game. I didn’t play when I was a youngster. I played a lot of recreation baseball and basketball when I was in school, and right after high school, I went out and got a job. That’s the way it was back then.”
Deal worked in manufacturing and printing press jobs for most of his life and currently works for an upscale awards/mementos company.
He plays to a solid 6-handicap and once got his that number down to a 4.
“I don’t think I have a best part of my game,” he said. “Some days I’m driving it good, and some days I’m putting and chipping it good. I just can’t say what part of my game is better. There are days when you can hit that driver unbelievable but you can’t chip and putt. Then the opposite happens the next time you play. Just when you think you have it all figured out, you don’t. It’s a humbling game. I’ve learned over the years that it’s not the club. It’s the operator.”
Last year, Deal played in the championship flight of this event of the Amsterdam City Championship for the first time, and he enjoyed the experience.
“I was paired with Mike Arminio, Danny Russo and Matt Nasadoski,” Deal said. “I’ve seen Danny Russo play before, but I had never played with him until last year, He was a gentleman through and through. I think he’s won this event in four straight decades, and I know he won it last year. He’s always encouraging and never has anything bad to say about anyone.”
Deal’s career-low round is a 68 at his home course, and he has four holes-in-one to his credit, all on the 16th hole.
“I would like to thank the crew at Amsterdam Municipal for keeping the course in outstanding condition, especially considering some of the really dry weather we’ve had,” Deal said, “Also, Kevin Canale is a great pro. It’s nice having him back here after a couple of years away. Kevin has made a big difference here.”
Matt Beck and Dan Stopera were first and second in the men’s overall low net.
Mike Arminio won the senior men’s low gross, followed by Tim O’Brien, while John Rossi and Skip Phillips were 1-2 in senior net. Kim Brumley and Chris Sherlock were the top two finishers in the women’s gross division, and Lise Cappuccio and Rosemary Martuscello took the top prizes in women’s net.
The Symetra Tour’s CDPHP Open, which was originally scheduled as a regular tour event back in May, was rescheduled as a one-day pro-am Friday at Capital Hills at Albany. Locals fared quite well in tough scoring conditions, especially Kennedy Swedick.
The 13-year-old Swedick, who returns to scholastic competition for Albany Academy soon, shot a 5-over-par 76 as one of four special exemptions into the field that included 35 Symetra Tour pros.
Swedick is nationally-ranked in her age group and is both the defending Section II girls’ champion and the Northeastern New York PGA Junior Tour champ for her age group.
University at Albany women’s golf coach Colleen Cashman McSween, playing for the sixth time in this tournament, led the local contingent with a 75. She appeared in more than 100 pro tournaments during her playing career, posted nine top-10 finishes in Futures/Symetra Tour events and won the 2003 Tampa Bay Next Generation Futures Golf Classic. UAlbany products Megan Henry, from Epping, England, and Madison Walker, from Bermuda Dunes, California, shot 77 and 87, respectively
Emma Jandel, from Dayton Ohio but currently living in Atlanta, won the event with a 4-under-par 67. She was the only player to break par.
The fields are filling up quickly for the annual Schenectady Classic Sept. 10-13 at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course. There will be three divisions: men’s open, men’s senior and women. Applications are available at the golf shop or by calling 518-382-5155. Entry deadline is Sept. 4.
The Saratoga County Amateur Golf Championship will be played Sept. 18 at Eagle Crest Golf Club and Sept. 19 at The Edison Club. The format will be 36 holes with no cut and gross medal play only. There will be an open division and senior division (50 years of age and older). Entry fee will be $85 and it includes both rounds and motorized cart. For more information, contact John Peterson at Eagle Crest GC (518-877-7802, ext. 229) or Brad Gardner at The Edison Club (518-399-2992).
Capital Hills at Albany head pro Steve Vatter won the Northeastern New York PGA’s Senior Stroke Play Championship with a 1-over-par total of 74-71-145 at Hiland Golf Club Thursday. Brian Lowe of Catskill Golf Club was runner-up at 5-over-par, followed by defending champion Dal Daily of Battenkill at 8-over-par.
The next major event for the local pros is their NENY PGA Professional Championship Monday and Tuesday at Eagle Crest Golf Club.
Nine-time NENY PGA Player of the Year Scott Berliner, a 45-year-old assistant pro at Saratoga Spa Golf Course, finished tied for ninth at the Lenox Advisors New York State Open at Bethpage Black on Long Island this week. He was 2-over-par for three rounds on this extremely tough layout.
Columbia Golf & Country Club hosts the 66th annual NEWGA Peggy Enos Senior Championship Monday and Tuesday. Pat Mayne is the defending champion, and Sandra Weckter is the defending champ in the 70-plus division.
The Bill Moll Triple Play Championship, named after the late local standout, is set for Sept. 28 at Eagle Crest Golf Club. The 27-hole event will feature nine holes of two-man scramble, nine holes of two-man alternate shot and nine holes of two-man best-ball. Entry fee is $240 per team. Teams in this gross only event can have two amateurs or one pro and one amateur. Entry deadline is Sept. 21. Mail checks payable to Eagle Crest Golf Club to Eagle Crest Golf, 1004 Route 146A, Clifton Park, NY 12065.
During the Amsterdam City Championship, Greg Semione aced the 16th hole at Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course.
At Pinehaven Country Club, Bob Smith recorded his second career ace on the 128-yard ninth hole with a pitching wedge.
Matthew Izykowski from Ballston Spa registered a hole-in-one on the 131-yard fifth hole with a pitching wedge at Fairways of Halfmoon Golf Course.
Mike Arminio eagled the par-4 17th hole, and Matt Nasadoski eagled the par-5 third hole during Amsterdam City Championship play at Amsterdam Municipal.
Clyde Driggers eagled the par-5 fourth hole at Mechanicville Golf Club. He reached the green with a 4-hybrid.
Kyle Bryant eagled the par-5 third hole while competing in the Jimmy Dees league at Ballston Spa Country Club.
Reach Bob Weiner at [email protected] or @BobWeiner58 on Twitter.