Mohawk Golf Club head pro Jeremy Kerr looks forward to the annual Gazette Cup, even though he believes his fellow professionals have almost all the pressure on them.
“It’s a no-win situation for us. If we win, we’re supposed to win. If we don’t, we get a lot of heat,” he said.
The Gazette Cup tees off this morning at 10:30 at Mohawk GC. Admission to the matches is free and open to the public.
Kerr’s 12-man team, representing the Northeastern New York PGA, holds a 6-4 lead in the series against the Capital Region Amateur Golf Association, but the amateurs pulled off a 35 1⁄2-18 1⁄2 upset win a year ago in soggy conditions. The Mohawk GC layout was so saturated with water that both teams had to walk. Most local club pros use carts in their weekly events.
“I really like playing in this event,” the 40-year-old Kerr said. “We don’t play any two-man partners events anymore, so I don’t get much of a chance to play a match with one of my fellow professionals as a partner. Plus, this is a nice opportunity to play against some of the best amateurs in our area. They always have a very strong team.”
Kerr said the flat stick often determines the winner in this competition.
“If somebody gets hot with the putter, they usually win their match,” Kerr said. “A lot of it comes down to putting. You can really frustrate your opponent when you are sinking a lot of putts and he isn’t. The only thing is that you have to be careful with the rules, because there is so much going on at the same time.”
There are three matches going on simultaneously in each four-ball group. Both partners play individual matches, and then they play a team match. There are nine points up for grabs in each group, with a point awarded for winning the front, the back and total in each match. With 54 total points available, the defending champion needs to win 27 points to retain the cup. The pros must win at least 27 1⁄2 points to win it back.
Although he has battled injuries lately, Kerr has competed in just about every Gazette Cup. He is a former NENYPGA Player of the Year and also won NENYPGA Assistant Player of the Year honors four times. Before he became head pro at Mohawk Golf Club five years ago, he served as an assistant at several clubs, including Shaker Ridge Country Club and Wolferts Roost Country Club.
Joining Kerr on the professional side will be reigning NENYPGA Player of the Year Scott Berliner of Cobleskill Golf & Country Club, former NENYPGA Match Play champion Ian Breen of Colonie Golf & Country Club, Tom Sullivan (Wyantenuck CC), Steve Mazzariello (Stockbridge GC), Tom Oppedisano (McGregor Links CC), Keith Sprenger (Pioneer Hills GC), Bob Mucha (Greenock CC), John Souza (Stadium GC), John Durcan (Alapaha GC), Glenn Davis (Albany CC) and former NENYPGA president Noel Gebauer (Town of Colonie).
The CRAGA team is headed by multiple CRAGA Player of the Year Dan Russo of Rolling Hills Country Club and honorary captain Chuck Connolly of Kingswood Golf Club. Connolly, the all-time leader in victories on the Eastern New York Golf Association weekly tour, is also a three-time New York State Senior Amateur champion. He also has won three consecutive New York State Super Senior titles.
Other members of the CRAGA team are Dave Pallas of Saratoga Spa State Park, Mike Wheeler of Shaker Ridge Country Club, former Troy Invitational champion Steve Quillinan Jr. of the CC of Troy, former Tri-County Golf Association Match Play champ Dave Mooradian of the CC of Troy, fellow TCGA Match Play winner Chad Stoffer of Town of Colonie Golf Course, Mike McCarroll of Saratoga National, Ed Hart of Rolling Hills CC, Justin Deitz of The Edison Club and young phenom Victor Fox of Normanside Country Club, who is a senior at Bethlehem.
Al Stein, a PGA lifetime member and former section president from 1972 to 1974, is the honorary captain of the pro team. Stein was the head pro at Glens Falls Country Club before current head pro Tom Haggerty took over the job.
10:30 — P-Tom Sullivan (Wyantenuck CC)-Steve Mazzariello (Stockbridge GC) vs. A-David Hayes (Schuyler Meadows)-Dan Russo (Rolling Hills CC).
10:40 — P-Tom Oppedisano (McGregor Links CC)-Jeremy Kerr (Mohawk GC) vs. A-Dave Pallas (Saratoga Spa State Park)-Mike Wheeler (Shaker Ridge CC).
10:50 — P=Keith Sprenger (Pioneer Hills GC)-Bob Mucha (Greenock CC) vs. A-Steve Quillinan Jr. (CC of Troy)-David Mooradian (CC of Troy).
11:00 — P-John Souza (Stadium GC)-Scott Berliner (Cobleskill G&CC) vs. A-Chad Stoffer (Town of Colonie GC)-Mike McCarroll (Saratoga National GC).
11:10 — P-Ian Breen (Colonie G&CC)-John Durcan (Alapaha GC)-A-Chuck Connolly (Kingswood Links GC)-Ed Hart (Rolling Hills CC).
11:20 — P-Glenn Davis (Albany CC)-Noel Gebauer (Town of Colonie GC) vs. A-Justin Deitz (The Edison Club)-Victor Fox (Normanside CC).
P-NENYPGA pros. A-Capital Region Amateur Golf Association amateurs.