Women with local ties have captured five out of the last seven NYS Senior Women’s Amateur championships, and this year’s event at Pinehaven Country Club will have plenty of area contenders attempting to keep the successful tradition alive.
A field of 120 standouts will compete Tuesday and Wednesday in this prestigious event that began in 1953. Competition will be divided into the Senior (ages 50-64) and Super Senior (age 65 and older) divisions. There will be a 9 a.m. shotgun start both days.
Lake George resident Mary Sicard, who has competed regularly in the Capital Region for several decades, is both the defending champion and a three-time titlist overall. She won the 2019 event held at Bristol Harbour Golf Club, as well as the 2016 tournament at The Whiteface Club and the 2017 championship at Corning Country Club. Last year’s event was suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sicard, a longtime Glens Falls Hospital finance department employee, won the now-defunct Gazette Women’s Best Ball Championship and was a regular competitor in the Capital District Women’s Open. The Adirondack Community College, Siena College and University at Albany graduate has won more than a dozen club championships at Queensbury CC, where she owns the course record with a 63.
Other local former champions in the field are Nancy Kroll (Schenectady Municipal Golf Course), who won at Kanon Valley CC in 2014, and Sue Kahler of Ballston Spa, who triumphed at Wayne Hills CC in 2013.
Kroll, an area teacher, has seven NEWGA Championships to her credit and several Gazette Women’s Amateur crowns on her resume. She also was the first champion in the revised Schenectady Women’s Classic.
The recently retired Kahler, who owns more than 20 club championships at Ballston Spa CC, is also a multiple NEWGA and Gazette Women’s Amateur champion.
But there are numerous other talented candidates hoping to raise the championship trophy late Wednesday afternoon.
Mary Jo Kelly of Wolferts Roost CC has been a Capital Region standout for many decades. The former Mary Jo Battaglia won the NYS Women’s Amateur in 1980 at Foxfire Golf Club. She’s dominated the Wolferts Roost CC women’s club championship for almost 30 years and teamed with Elaine Sauers to form the most formidable best-ball tandem in the Capital Region in the 1980s and 1990s. Kelly also won several Gazette Women’s Amateur crowns as well as six NEWGA Championships.
Leslie Arakelian, one of the region’s top tennis players before concentrating more on golf later in life, used to belong to the home course for this championship but now plays out of Orchard Creek GC. She’s won four NEWGA Championships, the last in 2005.
Pat Mayne of Western Turnpike Golf Club, who teamed up with Karen Feldman of Olde Kinderhook to capture the NYS Senior Women’s Fourball Championship this year, is a three-time NEWGA champion as well as the winner of numerous other area events, including the Schenectady Women’s Classic and Gazette Women’s Best Ball. Feldman is also a two-time NEWGA titlist.
Other former NEWGA champions in the field are Heidi Harkins and Kathy Harkins of Ballston Spa CC and Ella Kellogg of Glens Falls CC. Heidi Vittengl of Glens Falls CC, a former Gazette Women’s Best Ball champion; Mary Scatena of Pinehaven CC, a former Schenectady Women’s Classic victor; Pinehaven CC’s Anne Van Buren, Penny Schiek of Hiland Park CC, Kate Oppedisano of Ballston Spa CC and Linda Kolnick of Canajoharie CC have also won important area titles over the years.
Some of the other locals are Marianne Springer of The Edison Club, Cindy Delappa of Queensbury CC, Maxine Tucker of Ballston Spa CC, Beth Currier of Queensbury CC, Paula Laime of Ballston Spa CC, Colleen Johnson of Queensbury CC, local golf journalist Joyce Bassett of Ballston Spa CC, Kathy Canestrini of Western Turnpike GC, Kelly Meader of Queensbury CC, Sue Moses of Ballston Spa CC, Renie Gadani of Normanside CC, Cindy Walkanowski of Ballston Spa CC, Jody McQuiston of Ballston Spa CC ,Mary Corrigan of Western Turnpike GC, Lynn Cummings of Pinehaven CC, Cindy Lafleur of Pinehaven CC, and former NEWGA senior champ Nan Lanahan of Pinehaven CC.
Rounding out the huge area contingent are Christine McKnight of McGregor Links CC, Bonnie St. Dennis of Pinehaven CC, Jane King of Catskill Golf Club, Mary Assey of Ballston Spa CC, Sandra Weckter of Pinehaven CC, Debra DiMaggio of Ballston Spa CC, Linda Doody of Western Turnpike GC, Jamie Hall of Pinehaven CC, Elaine Neiss of The Edison Club and Ann Capobianco of Pinehaven CC.
Five-time NENY PGA Player of the Year and three-time Senior NENY PGA Player of the Year Dal Daily, the head pro at Battenkill CC, posted an even-par 142 (70-72) to capture the NENY PGA Senior Stroke Play Championship last week at Fox Run Golf Club. He defeated Steve Vatter of Capital Hills (70-73-143) for the title. John Durcan, a PGA Retired Lifetime Member, won the Legends division with an 18-hole score of 76 to edge Harvey Bostic Jr. and Willie King by two shots.
The NENY PGA’s next major will be the Professional Championship Tuesday and Wednesday at Malone Golf Club.
Next year’s Symetra Tour Twin Bridges Championship will return to Pinehaven CC with a new date, July 8-10. The event will also be back at Pinehaven CC in 2023. Local tournament director Jim Miller is hoping to raise the total purse to $200,000.
Mike Dwyer, who teamed with fellow member Mike Stopera to win the NYS Fourball Championship earlier this season at Leatherstocking GC, and Michelle Krasodomski both won their first club championships recently at The Edison Club.
Schenectady Municipal Golf Course has announced a handful of major events remaining on the schedule this season: Tom Donato Memorial (Aug. 29), Schenectady Fire Department Tournament (Sept. 10), Scortch Alois Memorial (Sept. 11), Schenectady Athletic Hall of Fame Tournament (Sept. 12), Mayor’s Tournament (Sept. 14) and the annual Bob Haggerty Two-Man Championship (Oct. 9-10).
The fifth annual Play It Forward 518 Tournament at Van Patten Golf Club, which helps raise money for local charities like The Melodies Center at Albany Medical Center, raised $26,000 bringing its overall total to $125,000.
The 34th annual Shaker Ridge Invitational, one of the area’s premier best-ball events, is set for Friday through Sunday at Shaker Ridge Country Club. The tournament consists of four scratch divisions of two-man teams with a maximum field of 60 teams. Teams will be flighted after the first 36 holes. Jim Gifford and Jim Welch are defending champions in the Championship Division. Tony Hejna and Matt Clarke teamed up to win the Senior Division a year ago, and Gary Grimaldi combined with Chris Nachtrieb to win the Super Senior Division.
Two NENY PGA Junior League teams — one from Orchard Creek (17-and-under age division) and one from Saratoga Spa GC (AndersMattsonGolf 13-and-under division) will be represented at the PGA Junior League Regional Championship Sept. 10-11 at The Edison Club. Regional champions advance to the National Car Rental PGA Junior League Championship at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona Oct. 7-10.
Kevin “Trey” Smith of Greenville, who won three events this season, won the NENY PGA Boys’ Player of the Year award in the 16-18 age division. Nicole Criscone of Clifton Park won all seven of her events to win the NENY PGA Girls’ Player of the Year in the 16-18 age division. Brayden Dock of Queensbury, a three-time winner, was the NENY Boys’ Player of the Year in the 13-15 age division, while Samantha Von Rohr, who won six of her eight events, was the NENY PGA Girls’ Player of the Year in the 13-15 age division.
Country Club of Troy member Sam Schuffenecker qualified for the USGA Women’s Mid-Amateur Sept. 25-30 at Berkeley Hall North Course in Bluffton, South Carolina.
John Robinson of Glenmont, a 52-year-old quadruple congenital amputee, collected his first hole-in-one on the par-3 15th hole at Colonie Golf & Country Club. The hole was playing 105 yards. Robinson is the CEO of Our Ability, a company that helps fellow people with disabilities find jobs.
Joe DeLuca of Rotterdam aced the 145-yard fifth hole with a wedge at Briar Creek.
At Western Turnpike Golf Club’s 120-yard fifth hole on the white nine Mike Kinally recorded a hole-in-one with an 8-iron.
Don Frame of Clifton Park eagled the par-5 25th hole at Van Patten GC – his first eagle in more than 10 years.
Mark Compton recorded an eagle-2 on the par-4 second hole at Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course during the recent Amsterdam City Championship.
Reach Bob Weiner at [email protected].
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