Surprise, surprise. County golfers found no luck on Friday the 13th.
Torrential rain washed out the opening round of the Gazette County Amateur Golf Championship, turning the usual three-day scratch event into a two-day affair at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course.
To accommodate the open play already scheduled for this weekend, the entire 59-player field will switch from threesomes to foursomes for today’s opening round, and the cut will be to the low 20 and ties for Sunday’s final round.
“The course is just unplayable right now,” said second-year Muny head pro Matt Daley. “All the low-lying areas, like the fourth, fifth and eighth holes, were especially hit hard. Also, a lot of the ninth hole was almost completely under water. There were puddles in front of the tee area and in front of the green.”
With rain predicted for most of the day, and the threat of thunderstorms Friday afternoon, Daley had no choice but to cancel the first round at about 10 a.m. after calling the players off the course at about 9:20.
“It was so wet that there was nowhere you could place your ball for normal play,” he said. “No matter where you put your ball down, you couldn’t make a normal shot.”
Daley originally hoped to wait out the strongest part of the storm and then try to dry out the greens when play resumed in a couple of hours, but the fairways became drenched. The forecast was gloomy, based on several weather reports.
“This is about the fairest option we have,” said Daley, who has a full contingent of open-play customers already booked for the entire weekend. He also called off his league play scheduled for later Friday afternoon.
Several stalwarts actually played fairly well in the difficult conditions, including former champions Ben Bates and Ed Chylinski. Bates was under par through the first nine, and Chylinski was one-over-par.
“l’m a grinder,” said Chylinski, a three-time champion who is making his 50th appearance in the County Amateur. He played in his first event at age 14. “I was playing pretty well out there.”
But there were still seven groups who had yet to tee off, including the noon pairing that would have had to endure still another segment of the storm.
“It was about all we could do, unfortunately,” said Daley.
Among the favorites in the tournament are seven-time winner Jim Mueller, defending champion Paul Pratico, who has six open-division trophies and three County Am senior crowns to his credit, three-time winner Rob Bigley Jr., two-time titlist Bob Cooper and other former winners like Bates and Tom Salmon.
College of Saint Rose standout Seth Adams, Rider freshman Aaron Simone, Brandon Haase of Mohawk Golf Club, Jerry Brescia of Eagle Crest and Muny regular Lance Hope are also among the top contenders.
6:30 — Rob Bigley Jr., Matt Panneton, Mike Stopera, Ben Bates.
6:38 — Dave Sutphen, Brian Daley, Ed Chylinski, Mike Carroll.
6:48 — Alex Olbrych, Ben Smith, Bill Moll, Joe Plantz.
6:56 — Mike Casey, Corey Barringer, John Mendrysa, Tony Cristello.
7:06 — Aaron Simone, Paul Pratico, Bob Cooper, Tom Salmon.
7:14 — Brandon Haase, Jerry Brescia, Andy Bennett, Kenny Hall.
7:24 — Dave DeMarco, Mike Lucey, Carl Gilbert, Chris Gilbert.
7:32 — Mike Bayus, Ross Lackey, Mario Marino, Todd Trepess.
7:42 — Jim Mueller, Seth Adams, Jay Taub, Craig Schoonmaker.
7:50 — Tim Lewandowski Chris Pierpont, Thomas Kenneally, Paul Carnivale.
8:00 — Derrick Brown, Peter Davis, Moe Mroczkowski, Brandon Alois.
8:08 — Allen Cromer, Mike DiGirolamo, Mike Pollock, Dan Maloy.
8:18 — Mark Compton, Mike Drake, Lance Hope, Don Blaha.
8:26 — Todd Czepiel, Chad Stoffer, Mike Dwyer, Scott Grabicki.
8:36 — Peter Guidarelli, Walt Peretti, J.P. Hebert.