Few people have more course knowledge about Normanside Country Club than Earl Winchester, and he took full advantage in the second round of the 57th annual New York State Senior Amateur Championship Wednesday.
Winchester shot the only sub-par round of the day with a one-under-par 69 for a two-day total of four-over-par 144. He’s currently in second place and trails Phil Tripoli of Oswego Country Club (70-142) by two shots going into today’s final round.
Winchester, a 65-year-old lifetime member of Normanside, switched his club affiliation to Shaker Ridge Country Club three years ago, but he still maintains a membership at Normanside, so that his wife won’t have to travel too far to play. His parents joined Normanside in 1952, and except for four years he took off for military service, he’s been at least a partial member ever since.
“I help with the sprinkler system here, so they gave me a membership for my wife,” said Winchester, who has six club championships and seven senior club titles to his credit.
“It’s funny because Larry DeCosmo and I lobbied to get the State Senior Amateur here when we both turned 55. Then we lobbied again to have it here when we were 60, and now again at 65. Now, I’m lobbying to have in the area at Shaker Ridge.”
In 2003, Winchester was in the final grouping in the State Senior Amateur here, but he had a rough finish with a late double-bogey and bogey among his final three holes.
While Winchester led the local contingent, former local player Doug Vergith, now out of St. George’s Golf & Country Club on Long Island, was just a shot behind with a 71-145.
Vergith has been the runner-up in the State Senior Amateur three times, including two of the previous times the event was held here in 2003 and 2008.
Bill Paulsen Jr., the general manager of Eagle Crest Golf Club, was only a shot behind the lead after the first round, but he slipped to a 77 in the second round and is now six shots back.
“I had a triple-bogey on my last hole. I’m very frustrated,” said Paulsen, who is tied for eighth with three-time State Senior Am winner Chuck Connolly (74-148) of Kingswood Links Golf Club and Dave Champagne of Catskill Golf Club (73-148).
“I didn’t play very well at all,” said the 68-year-old Connolly, who is also the three-time defending Super Senior champion. “I had four three-putts and two double-bogeys today. The course played differently than it’s ever played, because they moved everything up. I drove it well, but I didn’t have very good judgment today. My goal is to play solid [today]. There are a lot of birdies to be made, but you can’t make any mistakes.”
Leaders — Phil Tripoli (Oswego CC) 70-142, Earl Winchester (Shaker Ridge CC) 69-144, Doug Vergith (St. George’s G&CC) 71-145, Steve Nosonwitz (McCann GC) 72-146, Scott Dean (Attica Golf Club) 76-146, Frank Broderick (Craig Burn GC) 71-147, Frank Plata (Cazenovia CC) 74-147, Dave Champagne Catskill GC) 73-148, Randy Young (Bellevue CC) 75-148, Jeff Reissman (Spook Rock GC) 77-148, Bill Paulsen Jr. (Eagle Crest GC) 77-148, Dale Dirk (Blue Heron Hills GC) 71-148; Chuck Connolly (Kingswood Liks) 74-148.
Other locals who made the cut — Mike Carroll (Mohawk GC) 76-150, Patrick Seelye (Hiland GC) 73-151, Paul Hart (Pinehaven CC) 72-151, Kevin Broderick (Orchard Creek GC) 76-151, Paul Lundberg (Shaker Ridge CC) 77-151, John Donovan (Schenectady Municipal) 77-153, Bob Cooper (Orchard Creek) 75-154, Bill Lebeau (Van Schaick Island CC) 81-154, Ralph Maru (Van Patten GC) 78-154, Mike Bayus (Orchard Creek) 77-154, Bill Lamy (eClub Capital Districtd) 79-155, Robert Norton (Shaker Ridge CC) 81-156; James Blendel (Normanside CC) 79-157; Robert Hatch (Glens Falls CC) 78-157; John Reagan (Western Turnpike GC) 78-157; Bill Wasserbach (Wolferts Roost CC) 77-156; Bill Kent (Town of Colonie GC) 80-159; Bruce Oswald (Shaker Ridge CC) 78-151; Jack Hardy (Shaker Ridge CC) 76-165.