SPORTS – Section II girls finally get the opportunity to play for a state scholastic championship in golf this weekend, and the experience will be even sweeter thanks to enjoying a home course advantage.
McGregor Links Country Club in Wilton hosts the NYSPSHSAA Girls’ Golf Championship Sunday and Monday. Nine talented young ladies – including five from the powerful Albany Academy for Girls team – will represent the area schools in their own state event for the first time. Previously, local females could only play in the states as part of the boys’ contingent. Section II began fielding girls golf programs just a couple of years ago. The NYSPHSAA Girls Championship was not held the last two seasons because of the pandemic.
Kennedy Swedick, whose resume already rivals some of the greatest young females in local history like Dottie Pepper, Laura Diaz and Gail Sykes, will spearhead the dominating Albany Academy team, which went undefeated over the last three seasons. Joining Swedick from her own team will be Nicole Criscone, Jillian Rawson, Samantha Von Rohr and Shea White.
Rounding out the Section II contingent are Hanna Mitchell and Megna Naidu of Guilderland, as well as Shea Hillenbrandt of Holy Names and Dannah Smith of Schalmont.
“We are so looking forward to it. The whole team has been looking for this opportunity for two years, not having a chance to play last year because of the pandemic,” said Swedick, the two-time Section II Player of the Year. “Our whole team has been working really hard. It feels great to be representing the school, and it’s nice to be part of a team.”
Swedick will be among the favorites to finish high on the individual leaderboard, but she’s more concerned with how her team will fare. The scores from the top four of the five Albany Academy team members will count for the team title.
“It’s a different mindset in this event, because you’re not playing for yourself but rather playing for your team,” Swedick said. “There’s a different feel to it, and a completely different atmosphere. It’s great to be able to represent and support your team, seeing your teammates and cheering them on. Knowing all the work our entire team has put in is special. Now, we get to have some fun. It’s a little added pressure playing for your team and not wanting to let them down, but honestly, it’s a lot more fun.”
Swedick earned national attention by competing in the national Drive, Chip & Putt Championship at Augusta National as a youngster. She’s participated in numerous regional and national championships, including last year’s Symetra Tour (now called the Epson Tour) Twin Bridges Championship at Pinehaven Country Club. The Epson Tour is the feeder system for the LPGA Tour.
This weekend begins an extremely busy schedule for Swedick, who will participate in the U.S. Girls Championship qualifier later this month, several American Junior Golf Association events, the PGA Girls Junior Championship and the NYS Women’s Amateur back here at McGregor Links CC next month, just to name a few noteworthy events.
Albany Academy for Girls, coached by Sarah Adamowski, has a loaded lineup that also includes Criscone, who has won more than 100 times on the U.S. Kids Tour and has more than 70 wins on the Northeastern New York PGA Junior Tour.
She’s a seven-time NENY NY PGA Junior Tour Player of the Year and also owns several Hurricane Tour titles. Criscone also participated in the national Drive, Chip & Putt Championship, where she finished second in the putting competition of her age division.
BOYS IN ACTION TOO
Meanwhile, the Section II boys also will be playing today and Monday at the Mark Twain Golf Course in Elmira.
Representing Section II will be qualifying medalist Brayden Dock of Glens Falls, Trey Smith of Greenville, Kellen Dean of Saratoga Springs, Class A medalist Vincent Liguori of Niskayuna, Carter Sica of Saratoga Springs, Ryan Komp of Shenendehowa, David Mooradian of Averill Park, Travis Taylor of Columbia and Tanner Fearman of Queensbury.
The 79th annual Troy Invitational, considered one of the major championships for Capital Region male amateurs, is set for this coming Saturday and Sunday at the Country Club of Troy. Among the most noteworthy competitors in the field are Taylor Bellemare, Will Braxton, Alex Bringsjord, Kevin Cassidy, Ryan Davis, Tim Flanigan, Todd Flanigan, Chris Gilbert, David Hayes, Lance Hope, Griffith Hunter, Travis Koch, Clint Lange, Ben Rublee, Dan Russo, Chad Stoffer, Jason Urschel and Jim Welch. Hayes, Hope, Russo and Welch are former champs.
The NENY PGA Junior Tour kicks off with the Boys and Girls Junior Championship qualifier, combined with Major No. 1 Saturday and Sunday at Town of Colonie Golf Course.
RPI senior Joey Harrigan was named to the Division III PING All-America squad.
Eagle Crest Golf Club Director of Instruction Scott Berliner will be competing in the U.S Open regional qualifier Monday at the Century Country Club and Old Oaks Country Club in Purchase.
The New York State Open local qualifier will be contested Thursday at Eagle Crest Golf Club.
The next major on the NENY PGA tour is the Donald Ross Classic June 12-13 at The Sagamore Resort and Glens Falls CC, respecdtively.
Transit Valley Country Club in East Amherst hosts the NYS Amateur & Senior Amateur Mixed Team Championship Tuesday. Among the local tandems entered are Mike Farina and Marylee Pollard of Ballston Spa CC, Bill Kent and Joyce Lamb of Cobleskill G&CC, Tom Hughes and Linda Hughes of Ballston Spa CC and Joe Quijano of the CC of Troy with Chrissy Quijano of Bellevue CC.
The NYS Women’s Amateur & Senior Amateur Four-Ball Championship is set for June 13 at Stafford Country Club. Swedick is in the field, playing with Beverly Taibi.
The Saratoga County Men’s County Amateur, no longer open only to Saratoga County residents, will be played July 1 at Eagle Crest Golf Club and July 2 at Saratoga Spa State Golf Course. There will be two scratch divisions for the 36-hole event – open and senior. Opening-round tee times begin at 7:30 a.m. Tee times for the second round will be later in the day. Entry fee is $95. Make checks payable to Saratoga County Am and mail them to Salvatore Romano, P.O. Box 136, Clifton Park NY 12065. For more information, contact Romano (518-339-2060) or Dave Smith (518-813-1695).
The second annual 9 & Dine Golf Scramble, to benefit To Love a Child, Inc., will be held July 22 at Fairways of Halfmoon Golf Club. There will be registration at 3:15 p.m., followed by a 4 p.m. shotgun start. Entry fee is $85 and includes 9 holes of golf with cart, prizes, an Italian buffet dinner and a cocktail hour. There also will be a themed basket auction and a 50/50 raffle. For more information, contact To Love a Child, P.O. Box 165, Clifton Park, NY 12065 or call 518-859-4424. Proceeds will benefit Food Forests & Clean Water in Zimbabwe and Thyme to Thrive Educational Programs in the Capital Region.
Schenectady Municipal Golf Course is the site for the Schenectady High School Football Golf Tournament July 9 at 9 a.m. Entry fee is $135 and includes golf, cart, Continental breakfast, hot dogs/hamburgers/refreshments at the turn, dinner, a golf towel, T-shirt and golf divot/marker tool. Contact Schenectady High head coach Carmen DePoalo at 518-495-6555 for more information.
David Duval, whose father and grandfather were Schenectady natives, will be the featured player in the inaugural Charity Skins Game Tournament to benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of Schenectady Aug. 16 at Mohawk Golf Club. Homestead Funding will be the hall of fame sponsor. The former No. 1-ranked player in the world, Duval won the Open Championship and the Players Championship among his 13 PGA Tour wins. Blaine McCallister, who has five PGA Tour victories and has been very familiar to local golf fans as a longtime contestant in the former Ellis Hospital Capital District Skins Game, will be the tournament host.
Also entered in the four-person skins format will be two other familiar names to golf fans. Darren Clarke has won 21 tournaments worldwide, including the 2011 Open Championship. He was a five-time player and the 2016 captain for the European Ryder Cup team. Fred Funk won eight times on the PGA Tour, including the Players Championship, and he’s also won nine times on the Champions Tour. He was a member of the 2003 and 2005 Presidents Cup Team as well as the 2004 Ryder Cup team for the U.S. Contact Joel Slutsky (518-376-9909) for more information.
The 29th annual Great Dane Athletic Club Golf Classic will be held Thursday at noon at Wolferts Roost Country Club. For more information, contact Justin Brown at 518-437-4774 or [email protected]
Airway Meadows hosts the 17th annual Wilton Rotary Golf Classic June 18. Entry fee is $100 and includes golf, a light lunch and dinner. The format will be a four-person scramble at noon. Special events during the tournament include a chipping contest, a putting challenge and a corn hole competition. Contact Don Wildermuth (518-430-8670) for more information.
The 31st annual ALS Memorial Open, slated for June 22 at Van Patten Golf Course, is already sold out with 204 golfers and is no longer accepting entries. Raffle tickets for a $12,000 Master Spa from Concord Pools & Spas can be purchased by those people not playing in the tournament at one ticket for $50 or three tickets for $100 by calling the St. Peter’s Health Partners Foundation at 518-482-4433. For more information, contact Scott Daly (518-339-0491).
The Fedullo-Catena Golf Tournament, for the benefit of St. Anne Institute in Albany, will be held Sept. 19 at Shaker Ridge CC. Entry fee is $225 and includes golf, carts, lunch, cocktails, dinner, refreshments on the course, tournament gift, wingspan prize raffle tickets, money raffle ticket, first aid kit and a putting contest. The format will be four-person scramble. There will be a 12:30 p.m. shotgun start. For more information, contact Angela Fedullo (518-437-6520).
Steve Souky directed a 5-wood shot into the cup for his first hole-in-one on the 215-yard 15th hole at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course.
Also at Schenectady Municipal, Adam Krawczak of the Handicappers league aced the 138-yard third hole with a 9-iron.
Carl Mowery of the Schenectady Post Office league eagled the second hole at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course.
Reach Bob Weiner at [email protected]ail.com.
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