Down the Fairway: Top 11 moments from 2022 Capital Region golf season

Kennedy Swedick won two state titles and qualified for numerous regional and national events during a sensational golf season.
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Kennedy Swedick won two state titles and qualified for numerous regional and national events during a sensational golf season.

DOWN THE FAIRWAY We are just about ready to close the books on another exciting season of great accomplishments on the area links. Here’s my take on the top golf stories in the Capital Region.

  1. The amazing Kennedy Swedick captured two state tournaments — the NYSPHSAA Girls Championship and the NYS Women’s State Amateur — and never stopped smiling, even when she occasionally got off to slow starts. The 15-year-old Albany Academy for Girls standout competed against the pros with respectable results for the second straight year in the Epson Tour’s Twin Bridges Championship at Pinehaven CC and also qualified for numerous national junior championships. It’s clear this youngster, coached by Anders Mattson, is the real deal with plenty of talent and poise.
  2. Smooth-swinging veteran Susan Kahler of Ballston Spa CC won her second NYS Women’s Senior Amateur title and tacked on her third NEWGA Championship this summer. She has also dominated her club championship with well over 20 crowns. Kahler also owns a pair of NYSGA Team Championships with her brother and is a former multiple Gazette Women’s Amateur champion, as well. She doesn’t seem to be slowing down one bit.
  3. David Duval, the former No. 1 player in the world whose father and grandfather were Capital Region natives, won the inaugural Charity Skins Game at Mohawk Golf Club, for the benefit of the Schenectady Boys and Girls Clubs. Duval put on quite a show and demonstrated why he had such an unbelievable run among the world’s greatest players. He once shot a 59, won the British Open and knocked the legendary Tiger Woods off his perch as the world’s top player. He told the area media that he enjoyed his visit and rated Mohawk GC one of his favorites.
  4. Many of the best young female players in the world returned to Pinehaven CC to compete in the Epson Tour’s Twin Bridges Championship. Lilia Vu captured the title and later made a run at winning her first LPGA Tour event, as well. Watching these young women professionals was must-see viewing for true golf fans. Not only were their swings worthy of cloning, but we could all use their short game talents.
  5. Jim Mueller, an eight-time winner of the Schenectady Classic, became the all-time leader in Schenectady Senior Classic victories (six) with a commanding performance at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course. He’s been a perennial threat in Muni events and all senior-division tournaments as well.
  6. Long-hitting Ben Bates, a former Mohawk Golf Club star and NYS Junior Boys Amateur champion, dominated this year’s Schenectady Classic for his third career title, winning by nine strokes. The 40-year-old Skidmore College product then later secured the Eagle Crest club championship.
  7. Scott Berliner, now the Director of Instruction at Eagle Crest Golf, reclaimed the NENY PGA Stroke Play Championship after having his phenomenal run of 10 straight titles in this event snapped a year ago by Eric Mabee at the CC of Troy.  Berliner is the NENY PGA’s all-time leader in major tournament victories with 29 (11 Stroke Play, nine Donald Ross Classics, three Match Play and six Professional Championships). He’s an 11-time Player of the Year.
  8. Former NEWGA champion Rachel Barlette of Shaker Ridge CC secured her first Schenectady Women’s Classic in a playoff with former winner Pat Mayne of Western Turnpike GC at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course. Barlette hits the ball a long way. When her putter gets hot, she’s a contender.
  9. Former longtime Normanside CC assistant pro Justin Hearley, who took over as head pro at Burden Lake CC this season, won a handful of NENY PGA events, including his second career major, the Professional Championship at Albany CC. Hearley, a graduate of CBA and SUNY Delhi, is attempting to unseat Berliner as the section’s player of the year. He will face Berliner in the finals of the rain-delayed NENY PGA Match Play Tuesday at Wolferts Roost CC.
  10. (tie) Former CC of Troy star Steve Quillinan Jr., now living in Boston, came back to the Capital Region to win his fourth Tri-County Match Play Championship at Colonie G&CC. Quillinan is a former Troy Invitational and Rensselaer County Amateur titlist.
    (tie) The CRAGA team, led by the Siena College tandem of Nolan Crowley and Nick Lyons, beat the NENY PGA 31.5-22.5 to claim the annual Challenge Cup between the pros and the amateurs at the Country Club of Troy.

COLLEGE CORNER

In the annual Crosstown Challenge at Wolferts Roost CC, the UAlbany women’s golf team defeated rival Siena by 39 shots (284-323).

UAlbany finished with the top seven scorers, topped by junior Mariel Tee (3-under-par 67) and freshman Lucia Esteban (71).

Union College sophomore Elizabeth Bentsianov broke the program’s single-round and two-day scoring records with a 75 and 152, respectively, to lead the Dutchwomen to a fifth place finish at the NYU Fall Invitational last weekend.

CHIP SHOTS

Fairways of Halfmoon will host all rounds of the Section II boys’ golf championships, beginning with the first round of the Class B and C/D sectionals Oct. 11 and the first round of the Class A sectionals Oct. 13. The second round (ABC/D) is set for Oct. 15, followed by the State Qualifier Oct. 16. The Edison Club will entertain both the girls’ individual championship and state qualifier Oct. 3 and the Team Championship and state qualifier Oct. 9.

Sad to learn of Vern Foster’s passing. The longtime area barber was an extreme golf enthusiast who loved to play and sponsored many events and leagues, including one at Stadium GC.

The Bill Moll Triple Play is scheduled for Oct. 10 at Eagle Crest Golf Club. The unique 27-hole event is in honor of the late area standout. It begins at 8:30 a.m. with nine holes of a two-person scramble, followed by nine holes of a two-person alternate shot. After a break for lunch, there will be a re-pairing for nine more holes of two-person best ball. Teams may consist of two amateurs or one pro with one amateur. Entry fee is $240 per team with optional skins of $60 per team ($20 per format). Entry deadline is Oct. 3. Make checks out to Eagle Crest Golf Club, 1004 Route 146A, Clifton Park NY 12065.

The Haggerty Two-Man Classic will be held Oct. 1-2 at Schenectady Municipal. Entry fee is $380 per team and includes golf, cart, a lunch buffet on Saturday and a dinner buffet Sunday. The field will be divided into flights based on the first-round scores. There are three divisions: open, senior and super senior. Contact Schenectady Muni at 518-382-5155 for more information.

The Albany FireWolves’ “The Pack Gives Back” annual golf outing will be held Monday at Normanside CC. There will be a 9:30 a.m. shotgun start for the four-person scramble. Entry fee is $600 per foursome and includes breakfast, snacks on the course and a dinner/cocktail reception after golf. For more information, call 518-362-4900 or go to www.albanyfirewolves.com.

Colonie Golf & Country Club is holding the 10th annual NewsChannel 13 Capital Region Golf Championships Oct. 1. There are gross and net divisions. Entry fee is $65 per golfer per division. Tee times begin at 8 a.m. For more information, contact Colonie G&CC at 518-765-4100 or visit www.coloniegolfandcountryclub.com.

Van Patten Golf Club’s inaugural Cooley Kill Cash Classic is set for Oct. 7. More than $7,500 in prizes will be up for grabs in this scratch two-player scramble. Entry fee is $125 per player and includes golf, contests and food. Top prize is $1,500 ($750 per player). For more information, call 518-877-5400.

The NYS Men’s Mid-Amateur concludes Sunday at Seven Oaks GC in Hamilton. Several area players were near the top of the leaderboard.

HOLES-IN-ONE

Dude Haemmerle aced the 97-yard eighth hole during a ringers tournament at Cobleskill G&CC. He used a wedge.

EAGLES

Ceferino Alcaide registered an eagle-2 on the eighth hole at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course.

Reach Bob Weiner at [email protected].

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