Brendan Jeffes can’t wait to tee it up this morning in the 13th annual Gazette Newspaper in Education Junior Golf Championship at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course.
Jeffes considers Muny his home course, and he’s already carded an eight-under-par 64 there earlier this season. That makes him among the favorites to win a talent-packed boys’ 15-18 age division.
“It’s like being home for me. I love the home cooking,” said Jeffes, who carries a 2 handicap and finished tied for sixth in this year’s Gazette County Amateur. “It’s a fun layout. You can miss a little here and there, and still score.”
When he shot the 64 back in June, Jeffes fired in nine birdies, including red numbers on the first three holes.
“My only bogey that day was on the fifth hole. It was basically a three-putt from the back fringe,” he said.
“I think this year’s tournament is anybody’s game, but I hope to contend. My putting and my wedge play this year has been pretty good. I’ve been practicing a lot on my putts from five to 10 feet. You can’t afford to miss them if you want to win a tournament. I want to be basically automatic from that range.”
Jeffes’ main competition could come from defending champion Seth Adams, who plays out of The Edison Club, and also carries a 2 handicap. He, like Jeffes, has been riding a hot flat stick lately, and recently purchased a new Scotty Cameron putter.
Adams is leading the player of the year points list on the Northeastern New York PGA Junior Golf Tour with 569.50. There are 37 players in the boys’ 15-18 age division, and 24 hold single-digit handicaps.
Among the top contenders are Aaron Simone of Pinehaven Country Club and Jason Symons of Cobleskiill Golf & Country Club, who carry handicaps of 1 and 2, respectively, as well as John Young of Mechanicville, who carries a 4 handicap and is fifth on the NENYPGA Junior Golf Tour points list. Simone has won the boys’ 12-14 age division for three straight years, and is moving up in search of a fourth straight title.
David Wellington of Ballston Spa Country Club has the lowest handicap (12) in the boys’ 12-14 age division, followed by Brian Daley (14) of Mohawk Golf Club and Michael Redmond Jr. (16) of Schuyler Meadows.
Although Macy Raimo of Shaker Ridge Country Club is the defending champion in the girls’ division after shooting a six-under-par 66 a year ago, fellow Shaker Ridge CC member Bailey Cocca is on a hot streak. She won her second straight New York State Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship this week at the Country Club of Mendon with a two-day total of one-over-par 149. She rallied to win on the final day with a 73.
Cocca leads the NENYPGA Junior Golf Tour girls’ player of the year standings with 890 points, followed by Jessica Madsen of Colonie (710), Raimo (710) and Sarah Adamowski (670) of Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course.
For the first time this season, there will be no Calloway scoring. Players will earn prizes in both gross and net in each division. There are also prizes for longest drive and closest to the pin.
There will be an 8 a.m. shotgun start for the 61-player field. Competitors should be at the course to register no later than 7 a.m. Lunch and an awards ceremony will follow golf.
1A -- Seth Adams, Brendan Jeffes, Aaron Simone, Jason Symons.
1B -- Christopher Giglio, Mark Jensen, Davis Jensen, John Young.
2A -- James Greg, Pete Koehler, David Mastroianni, Matt Parrattino.
2B -- Brandon Bush, Alex Coyne, Dylan Gladd, Brian Schlansker.
3A -- Jeffrey Erwin, Ryan Lynch, Correy Purcell, Austin Westerveld.
3B -- Dan Bennison, Daniel DeNyse, Tom Mittler, Aaron Scofield.
4A -- Michael Curcio, Brendan Monsofthyphentrello, John Polec, Jay Puleo.
5A -- Alex DeMarco, Chris Dobson, Adam McIlravey.
6A -- Ryan Carroll, Thomas Kenneally, Jake McKenna.
6B -- Ryan Gallagher, Charles Stevens, Zack Valenza.
7A -- Brian Daley, Freddy Luna, Michael Redmond Jr., David Wellington.
8A -- Kyle Adams, Derrick Brown, Sean Puleo, Dennis Ziamandanis.
9A -- Connor Adams, Tyler Guzewski, Frank Parisi, Daniel Rhoades.
9B -- Jelani Hoyte-King, Marc LaBahn, Patrick Shakar.
10A -- Bailey Cocca, Jessica Madsen, Macy Raimo.
10B -- Sarah Adamowski, Hannah Valsofthyphenachovic, Grace Ziamandanis.
10C -- Jennifer Lachell, Sarah Luna, Jenn Murphy.