SCHENECTADY — Before this week, Lucas Sirois was a relative unknown commodity in local golf. Now, he may have a huge target on his back.
The native of Hebron, Connecticut, who moved to Schenectady 10 years ago, demonstrated a rock-solid, steady game en route to a 1-over-par 73 in the final round of the Schenectady Senior Classic Friday at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course. The 56-year-old product of Rham High School and McNeese State finished with a two-day total of 141 and held off four-time Senior Classic winner Paul Pratico (72-145) by four shots to pick up his inaugural Capital Region major championship.
Meanwhile, 75-year-old left-hander Woody Winslow captured the Classic’s Super Senior Division with a 1-under-par 71 and a two-day total of 143 to win by five shots over three players tied at 148.
Sirois, who fired a bogey-free 68 in the opening round, showed no signs of nerves as he went about his business Friday. He rolled in three birdies on the front nine to help offset two bogeys and a double-bogey. On the back nine, he bogeyed the 11th hole but birdied the par-5 14th. He seldom had anything but stress-free short par putts on the other seven holes coming in.
“I wasn’t that nervous,” Sirois said. “We really didn’t know what was going on in the other group. That makes a difference. Somebody told me at the turn that nobody was playing that well behind us. I was just trying not to shank it. All I was looking at every hole was hitting fairways and greens. I was thinking about making smooth swings with a good tempo.”
Based on his career as a younger player, it’s not surprising that Sirois played so well. His biggest claim to fame as a youngster at Rham High School was winning the prestigious Manchester Open.
“I’ve won some stuff in the past,” he said. “When I played in the Manchester Open in high school, they had like 100 pros and 100 top amateurs competing. It was a very big tournament and guys like Julius Boros and Bob Toski won it. It was an amazing moment for me when I won that.”
Sirois also had an excellent college career after transferring from junior college to McNeese State. He finished second in several conference tournaments.
His other notable golf moment was when he qualified to play in the Greater Hartford Open on the PGA Tour.
“I won the qualifier with a 68 back in 1999,” said Sirois, who also has four career holes-in-one.. “I was hitting balls on the practice range with David Duval on one side and Justin Leonard on the other side. I’ve definitely had my golf moments, but this is the biggest thing I’ve done in this area.”
Pratico finished as the runner-up for the sixth time in the Schenectady Senior Classic. He’s also won the regular Schenectady Classic eight times.
“I couldn’t get the lines or the speed on the greens today,” Pratico said, “I just missed an eagle putt on the 12th hole, and if that went in it would have been nice. I also just missed an eagle putt on the 16th hole. Those were the only two birdies I had.”
Pratico recorded nine straight pars on the front nine and bogeyed both the 15th and 17th holes on the back.
“I knew I had to shoot a 68 or a 69 to have a chance,” Pratico said, “You can’t worry about what the other group is doing, but maybe I could have put some pressure on Lucas if I was playing in the final group with him. You always want to win, but seconds are pretty good and better than third.”
Winslow was concerned how he would play Friday after shooting an even-par 72 on Thursday, so he asked Schenectady Municipal head pro Matt Daley how professionals handle trying to play two good rounds in a row.
“He said that I should go out and try to play every hole better than I did the day before or better than the last time I played it,” Winslow said.
“[Thursday] I had one double bogey and one eagle to cancel that out. Then I had four birdies and four bogeys,” he added. “Today, I cut out all the double bogeys and just had two bogeys with three birdies. So I think what Matt was trying to tell me was ‘Don’t think about what you did the day before but rather how I can do better today.’”
First-round leader Mario Marino (77-148), David Sutphen (73-148) and Neil Chambers (73-148) tied for second in the Super Senior Division.
Lucas Sirois 73-141, Paul Pratico 72-145, Mike Mina 76-148, Andy Bennett 74-148, Mike Salvatore 73-148, Dave Demarco 72-149, Ronny Cohen 75-149, Tony Cristello 73-149, Jay Taub 78-150, Jeff Barringer 71-150, Mike Carroll 75-151, Kevin Halburian 76-152, Paul Pawlik 74-152, Mike Drake 78-154, Mark Compton 75-156, Paul Toth 78-157, Kevin Dwyer 76-157, Mike Pollock 79-159, Glenn Coons 81-160, Mark Noe 80-161, Jim Ryan 81-162, Bill Douglas 83-164.
SUPER SENIOR DIVISION
Woody Winslow 71-143, Mario Marino 77-148, David Sutphen 73-148, Neil Chambers 73-148, Jim Reid 74-149, Bob Norton 77-153, Tony Delgado 76-153, Carl Gilbert 81-155, Ron Anzalone 79-156, Rick Lackey 80-157, Bruce Coons 84-159
Reach Bob Weiner at [email protected]
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