Often considered the ultimate individual sport, golf is also cherished on the team level, especially when representing your school, region or country.
Although The College of Saint Rose previously sent five individual players to the NCAA Division II tournament, the Golden Knights’ first team appearance is considered very special by fifth-year head coach Scott Warren and his players.
“I think the theme for this group is that all of the players really just love playing golf,” Warren said. “There is a great chemistry among all the guys. This will be a very special event for them.”
Led by Corey Purcell of Clifton Park, a Catholic Central High School graduate and Shaker Ridge Country Club standout, the Golden Knights begin play Monday and continue through Wednesday in the NCAA Division II Atlantic/East Regional at The Resort at Glade Springs in Daniels, WV.
Purcell, a senior, is not only the most experienced player for the Golden Knights, but he’s also been their top scorer all four seasons with the school. Last season, he competed in the NCAA regionals at Timber Banks Golf Club in Baldwinsville, and he tied for 49th.
“I haven’t gone [to the NCAAs as a teammate] yet, but all I know is that this is a great opportunity for all of us,” he said. “I’m going to embrace this opportunity. When I do talk to my teammates, I’m going to impress upon them that you can never take being here for granted.”
Purcell said that although last year’s NCAA tournament experience was rewarding, it wasn’t all that he had hoped for, because his teammates weren’t with him. “I had kind of a sour taste in my mouth,” he said.
Purcell won this year’s Northeast-10 Conference individual title at Olde Kinderhook with a two-day total of 140 (-4). He currently owns a solid 75.88 stroke average.
“Corey’s game has improved every season he’s been on the team, and that’s hard to do,” said Warren, who is also Director of Golf at Pinehaven Country Club.
“What I want people to know about Corey is that I recruited him when Saint Rose wasn’t a very good team at all. I consider Corey to be the greatest Saint Rose player ever, because he helped build this program to what it is today. I will never be able to repay him for what he has done for this program. He changed the culture here.”
Joining Purcell on the five-man starting team for the regionals are junior Brian Pesavento, sophomores Michael Pilkington and Alex Gibson (Glens Falls), and freshman Kyle Adams (CBA/Schenectady/The Edison Club). They are all shooting within nearly a stroke of each other, from 77.76 to 78.69.
Seniors Cody Husek (Broadalbin-Perth) and Cullen Spang, and freshmen Connor Adams (CBA), Patrick O’Donnell and Shi Yang Liu have all made key contributions for the Knights.
LOCALS EARN SYMETRA BERTH
University at Albany head golf coach Colleen Cashman-McSween and Normanside Country Club assistant pro Bailey Cocca have earned sponsor exemptions for the Symetra Tour’s Fuccillo Kia Classic June 2-4 at Capital Hills at Albany.
The Symetra Tour is the official feeder system for the LPGA Tour. A field of 142 players will be competing for total purse of $125,000. The winner earns $18,000, plus a 2017 Kia Forte LX.
This will be the third consecutive appearance in the Fuccillo Kia Classic for Cashman-McSween, who has competed in more than 100 professional golf tournaments on the former LPGA Futures Tour. She won the 2003
Tampa Bay Next Generation Future Classic. At Purdue University, she was a two-time All Big Ten selection.
Cocca, who won last year’s New York State Amateur Golf Association’s New York State Women’s Amateur, is a graduate of Shaker High School and Coastal Carolina. She won the New York State Junior Golf Championship in both 2009 and 2010 and became a pro this spring.
“Having two experienced golfers with Capital Region ties like Colleen and Bailey were easy choices for our tournament,” tournament director Jim Miller said. “Both have competed in this tournament before, and we always strive to try and have players with local connections, if at all possible.”
This will be the 14th straight year that the Symetra Tour has competed at Capital Hills at Albany. The Capital Region has hosted either the Futures Tour or the Symetra Tour 31 times.
The Tri-County Golf Association Match Play tournament, originally scheduled for this past weekend at Colonie Golf & Country Club, has been moved to Friday through Sunday, May 12-14. The top 16 players from the open qualifier, and at least eight players from the senior qualifier on Friday advance to match play on Saturday, when there will be two rounds of match play. The semifinals and finals will be played Sunday. Dan Russo of Hagaman is the defending champion. He’s won this first major of the season five times.
Stadium Golf Club is offering a junior golf league beginning June 26 and running for eight weeks until Aug. 14. Cost is $165 per player and includes green fees, driving range punch card, golf towel, prizes & lunch the last day. Applications are available at stadiumgolfclub.com or in the pro shop. Call 374-9104, ext. 1, for more information.
The Empire Golf Club event scheduled for Monday at the Country Club of Troy has been rescheduled for July 18 because of inclement conditions.
The Edison Club will host the first local stop of the New York State Golf Association’s Amateur Series Monday.
The Eastern New York Golf Association travels to Queensbury Country Club Wednesday.
Local pros head to the Country Club of Pittsfield Monday for Pro Classic No. 2.
Tony Spagnola slam-dunked a hole-in-one, finding the cup on the fly on the 141-yard fifth hole at Stadium Golf Club.
Dave Smith collected his third career hole-in-one at Pinehaven Country Club by using an 8-iron on the 130-yard ninth hole.
Mark Labbee, playing that same hole the same day, also posted his third career ace by hitting a 7-iron from 145 yards.
Josh Coreno hit a 9-wood for his hole-in-one on the 131-yard second hole at Mechanicville Golf Club.
At Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course, John Wall holed out with a 7-iron on the 140-yard 16th hole.
At Shaker Ridge CC, Sue Delanoy aced the fourth hole from 95 yards out with a pitching wedge.
Jim Gorman eagled the par-4 seventh hole at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course.
Also at Schenectady Municipal, Bob Dwyer, playing in the Muny Grille league, eagled the par-5 second hole with a 9-iron from 121 yards out.
Clyde Driggers eagled the par-5 fourth hole at Mechanicville Golf Club. He reached the green with a 3-hybrid on his second shot.