This is the 63rd year that The Daily Gazette has sponsored at least one men’s amateur golf tournament, and in all that time, no player has won four straight, in either the open or senior edition.
That could change this week, when the 35th annual Gazette Senior County Amateur is contested at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course Thursday and Friday.
Paul Pratico, the former pro who sharpens his game for the two County Ams he’s eligible for every summer, has won the last three Senior County Amateurs to go along with six regular County Ams.
Pratico is already the all-time leader in Gazette-sponsored tournament crowns with nine. Bill Moll (five Senior County Ams, three regular County Ams) and Jim Mueller (an all-time best seven regular County Amateurs) are next with eight and seven wins, respectively.
Pratico, who works at Golf Galaxy in Albany, retired the permanent Gazette Senior County Amateur trophy last August, but he will be a huge favorite to collect another plaque.
“I’m using my same routine that I always do,” said Pratico last week. “I don’t have many competitive rounds in, just a charity tournament last week at Schenectady Municipal. But it was a scramble. I still hit balls every night, though, and I use the putting green for putting and some chips.”
But Pratico said he plans on getting in a few rounds before the tournament so he can lock in a swing.
“I’m also trying to get used to a new driver. I’ve got a new Cleveland Classic XL with a lighter shaft, only about 39 grams,” he said. “It feels really good, but I’ve got to get used to it before the tournament.“
Pratico said he’s been hitting his irons crisply in practice, but he doesn’t know how that will relate to a final score.
“I’ll know better once I play a few rounds,” he said. “The one thing I noticed in the regular County Am, though, is that the greens were not rolling exactly like they used to, for whatever reason. I never got my putting down in the County Am.”
The only other senior player besides Pratico to win three straight County Ams was five-time champ Neil Golub from 1994 through 1996.
The only other regular County Am player who won three straight was Doug Grabowski (1968-1970).
There have been numerous players in each division who have won back-to-back titles, including Mike Baziluk (1985-1986), Moll (2000-2001 and 2006-2007) and Al Nebolini (2002-2003) in the Senior County Amateur and Sig Makorski (1951-1952), Stu Smith (1958-1959), Mike Bayus (1975-1976), Rob Bigley Sr. (1982-1983), Mueller (1987-1988 and 2010-2011) and Bill Frutchy (1991-1992) in the regular County Am.
Net champions will be decided the first day in the 50-59, 60-69 and 70-plus age divisions. Only the low 20 and ties gross advance to the final round Friday.
The Audrey Van Alstine Invitational will be held Thursday and Friday at Pinehaven Country Club.
The Gazette’s Bryce Hume golf tournament, for Daily Gazette employees, retirees and friends, will be held Aug. 31 at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course. Entry fee is $50 and includes lunch and prizes. Scoring will be done with Calloway net. The field will be limited to the first 24 players, and tee times begin at 9 a.m.
Kingswood Links Country Club will host the next Eastern New York Golf Association tournament Wednesday.
Local club pros will play in the Pro-Lady event Wednesday at Wiltwyck Golf Club.
Duanesburg Area Community Center will hold its annual golf outing to support community services Sept. 12 at Orchard Creek Golf Club. Entry fee for the four-person scramble is $125 before Aug. 23 and $135 after. The fee includes Continental breakfast, golf, cart, gift bag, driving range, prizes and a barbecue lunch. Entry deadline is Sept. 6. For more information, call 895-9500.
Schenectady’s Derrick Brown was the top local player with an 80 for first place in the boys’ 17-18 division of the New York State Elks Junior Golf Tournament last week at Orchard Creek. Jason Cyr (92) was second in the boys’ 12-14 division, and Haley Waghorn (138) was third in the girls’ 12-14 division.
Recent Sage graduate Zachary Sullivan won the Van Schaick Island Country Club men’s club championship last weekend. Sullivan was also named a recipient of the Gator Award for his play on the links at Sage. He was a two-time varsity letter winner.
McGregor Links Country Club will host the Mark Printsky Memorial Tournament Aug. 21. Entry fee for the scramble tournament is $100 and includes lunch, golf, cart and hors d’ourvres. Printsky was the former superintendent at McGregor. For more information, call Brian Goudey at 859-2953 or Craig Cochran at 860-3602.
Tiger Woods is scheduled to head a star-studded field in the seventh annual Notah Begay III Foundation Challenge at Turning Stone Resort Casino’s Atyunote Golf Club Aug. 27. Also competing will be Jason Dufner, Jimmy Walker, Jonas Blixt, Angel Cabrera, Louis Oosthuizen and Begay, the host. The largest fundraising event across Indian country, the NB3F Challenge will put the proceeds toward reducing obesity and Type 2 diabetes among Native American youth. Tickets are on sale now and may be purchased by contacting the Turning Stone box office (315-361-7469) or visiting the box office, which is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Tickets are $50 for adults. Youth admission for youngsters age 16 and under is complimentary with purchase of an adult ticket.
Airway Meadows Golf Club will host its 11th annual Benefit Tournament Saturday. The event will benefit 9-year-old Thurman Skyler, who has been diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer. Entry fee is $85 and includes a four-player scramble, beer and soda all day, lunch at the turn and a barbecue picnic. Call 792-4144 for more information.
Saratoga National Golf Club hosts the seventh annual Teeing Off on Cancer Golf Classic, to benefit the Catie Hoch Foundation, Aug. 25. There will be a 1 p.m. shotgun start. Entry fee is $250 per golfer and includes golf, beverages, lunch, cocktail hour and dinner. Call Darren Bennett at 580-5363 for more information.
Jenny Buchanan (73-153) of Loudonville finished tied for fourth in the 17U girls’ division of the New York State Junior Amateur at Ridgemont Country Club this week. Jack O’Hara (79-161) of Loudonville was seventh in the 14U boys’ division.
Skip Laurer holed out with a 7-iron on the fifth hole at Brookhaven.
Rick Boleto aced the 134-yard eighth hole at Hales Mills.
At Eagle Crest, Peter Stevens recorded his first hole-in-one with a 4-hybrid on the 137-yard sixth hole.
Shawn Buicko’s 9-iron found the cup for a hole-in-one on the 117-yard 23rd hole at The Edison Club.
Tony Condello posted the rare double-eagle or albatross on the par-5 third hole at Amsterdam Municipal.
Glenn Stopera also eagled the third hole at Amsterdam Municipal.
Darryn Bradt eagled the 16th hole at Stadium Golf Club.
Dave Fusco eagled the ninth hole while competing in the Handicappers league at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course.
Also at Schenectady Municipal, Ed Varno Jr. eagled the first hole.
At Hales Mills, Mike Riske eagled the 454-yard 15th hole.