Chuck Connolly walked over to the “Super Senior” leaderboard to see where he stood following the second round of the 56th annual New York State Senior and Super Senior Amateur Golf Championship Thursday.
But his sights are really set on the larger “Senior” leaderboard, located just to the left. The 67-year-old Kingwood Links member would love to see that big red checkmark pointing to his name once again.
Connolly, who has already won State Senior Am crowns in 2000, 2008 and 2010, to go along with two Super Senior titles, battled quick greens and windy conditions to post a two-over-par 72 and grab a one-shot lead over Steve Nosonowitz of McCann Golf Club heading into today’s final round at Wolferts Roost Country Club.
Connolly also leads the Super Senior division — by six shots.
“That’s not that much of a lead,” he said when told he had the consolation prize just about locked up. “I can still win another [overall] title, but I also know that my window of winning is closing. At some point, I won’t be able to hit it anymore.”
Connolly’s up-and-down round included birdies on the second, 10th, 12th and 16th holes. He bogeyed the third, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and 11th holes. Two of those bogeys were back-to-back three-putts on the seventh and eighth holes.
Across the board, scores were generally much higher than they were in the first round, when the ground was still quite wet after Tuesday’s major storm. Tournament officials speeded up the greens and made some even more challenging pin positions for the second round.
“The course played harder because it was windier, and it also played longer. They set it up tough, but it was fair,” said Connolly, the king of the weekly Eastern New York Golf Association tournaments with more than 200 victories. He also has more than 20 club championships, mostly at his previous clubs, Queensbury Country Club and Hiland Golf Club.
“I hit a couple of bad shots today, but I also hit some good ones,” said the former track and field coach at Queensbury High School. “I was two-under-par at one point, but then I made a bunch of bogeys, and all of a sudden I was over par. I had a little anxiety after that.
“But I think I could win another title. I’m pretty tough when it counts. But you never know. I may play awful [today]. My driver is not my friend right now, but I’m going to put my head down and get ready to go for another five hours.”
The 57-year-old Nosonowitz won the 1990 New York State Mid-Amateur crown. He said he knows Connolly, and he also knows the Roost very well after playing in the Roost Invitational for the last 25 years.
“The greens are everything here,” he said. “You must leave your ball in the right spot on the greens.”
Nosonowitz collected four birdies against six bogeys and played pretty solidly after a slow start.
“I struck the ball well and hit a lot of greens, but I didn’t always put the ball in the best spot near the hole,” he said.
Other Capital Region players among the leaders include Paul Hart of Pinehaven Country Club (73-150), Bill Paulsen Jr. of Eagle Crest (78-150), Kevin Broderick of Orchard Creek (75-150), Bob Cooper of Orchard Creek (75-152) and Paul Lundberg of Shaker Ridge Country Club (74-152).
Ralph Maru of Van Patten currently leads the 70-plus group with a 78-161.
“I think the guys who are out of the area and have never played the Roost before had an advantage in the first round, because those of us who have played here thought the greens would be quicker than they were in the first round,” said
Cooper, 57, a two-time Gazette County Amateur champ. “The wind dried out the greens, and the course played more like we expected it to today. I think length hurts you here, because if you just hit it to the 150-yard mark, you are better off. The guy who hits it 230 off the tee has an advantage, because his ball won’t go through the fairway. You have no chance if you hit the ball over the greens here.”
Lundberg was one of the few players who played better in the first round than he did in the second.
“I made a few more putts today,” he said. “Birdies are hard to come by here. You need to be more accurate here at Wolferts Roost. At Shaker Ridge, you have more room to drive the ball, and length is more of a premium. Here, on a lot of the holes, you can’t be above the hole, or you don’t have a chance. I was fortunate to make the putts I did when I was above the hole.”
Leaders — Chuck Connolly (Kingswood Links) 72-143; Steve Nosonowitz (McCann GC) 72-144, Todd Dischinger (Foxfire GC) 74-146; Randy Young (Bellevue CC) 74-147; Dale Dirk (Blue Heron Hills GC) 73-76-149; Paul Hart (Pinehaven CC) 73-150; Bill Paulsen Jr. (Eagle Crest GC) 78-150; Kevin Broderick (Orchard Creek) 75-150; Jim Burns (Wild Wood CC) 74-150; Curt Reimer (Webster GC) 74-150; Jim Hamburger (McCann GC) 75-150.
Other top locals — Bob Cooper (Orchard Creek) 76-152, Paul Lundberg (Shaker Ridge CC) 74-152; Glenn Stopera (Amsterdam Municipal) 8154; Joe Quillinan (Olde Kinderhook) 80-154; Patrick Seelye (Hiland) 78-154; Jim Cocca (Shaker Ridge CC) 79-155; Paul Matties (Columbia G&CC) 79-156; Peter Spitalny (Colonie G&CC) 8-156; Ray Kelly (Wolferts Roost CC) 82-157; Scott Wood (Columbia G&CC) 77-157; William Lebeau (Van Schaick Island) 78-158; John Reagan (Western Turnpike GC) 82-158; Earl Winchester (Shaker Ridge CC) 81-159; Francis Gavin (Columbia G&CC) 79-160; Ralph Maru (Van Patten) 78-161; Gary Kline (Orchard Creek) 81-160; Robert Hatch (Glens Falls CC) 80-162, Mike Mina (Shaker Ridge CC) 81-163; Bruce Oswald (Shaker Ridge CC) 83-164; Jery Carrinci (eClub Capital District) 84-165; David Skoney (Wolferts Roost CC) 84-166; Ron Trischetta (Shaker Ridge CC) 82-166; Ken Brown (Orchard Creek) 84-166; Steve Quillinan Sr. (Burden Lake CC) 84-166; Kevin Justice (Pinehaven CC) 84-166.