With a chance of playing the challenging Bethpage State Park’s Black Course in Farmingdale on the line, 96 players will tee it up in Monday’s New York State Amateur local qualifier at Colonie Golf & Country Club.
The NYS Amateur is set for Aug. 8-10, and the excitement of playing on such a storied public layout has boosted qualifying entries throughout the state, according to NYSGA officials. The top 13 players, and ties, will advance from this local qualifier. No Capital Region player has won the NYS Amateur since Jay Gunning of Town of Colonie in 1986.
It’s an interesting mix of youth and experience in this qualifier. Among the young lions who could be in the field is Austin Fox, the Bethlehem High School star who is the undisputed king of the local youngsters. He is questionable for the event.
The multiple-qualifying medalist led the Section II contingent at the recent New York State Public High School Athletic Association Golf Championships and also won last week’s Northeastern New York PGA’s Junior PGA Championship at Town of Colonie.
Other younger stalwarts include Nick Rumsey of Pinehaven CC, Ryan Davis, the son of Albany CC head pro Glen Davis; Austin Teal of Schuyler Meadows Club, Tanner Donovan and Hunter Donovan, both of the NYSGA e-Club-Capital District; Carter Fritch from Hiland Golf Club, Corey Purcell from Shaker Ridge CC, who recently led The College of Saint Rose into the NCAA Division II Championships; Michael Dwyer of Mohawk GC and Shenendehowa product Thomas McPartlon from The Edison Club.
There are even more veterans with impeccable resumes trying for a berth. Two-time Tri-County Golf Association Match Play titlist Chad Stoffer from Town of Colonie is paired with Jim Welch of Olde Kinderhook and CC of Troy senior vet Dave Arakelian. Welch is a former NYS Mid-Amateur champion, as well as a three-time Troy Invitational winner and former Capital Region Amateur Golf Association Stroke Play champ.
Former Troy Invy titlist Dave Hayes of Schuyler Meadows, newly named RPI head golf coach Jamie Jackson of Shaker Ridge CC, former TCGA Match Play winner and Siena College grad Steve Owens of the NYSGA e-club are also favorites to qualify, along with former Gazette Schenectady County Amateur winner Jerry Brescia of Albany National Golf Club and Mohawk Golf Club standout Brandon Haase.
Lance Hope of Schenectady Municipal, hard-luck runner-up in playoffs the last two Schenectady Classics, is also hunting for a qualifying berth.
Two local standouts who were exempt from qualifying based on finishing in the top 20 of last year’s NYS Amateur at Mohawk Golf Club are Jim Gifford of Mohawk GC and Dan Russo of Schuyler Meadows. Gifford, a Siena College graduate, recently competed in the USGA Four-Ball Championship and is a multiple winner of the Saratoga County Amateur. Russo, 59, has won virtually every local championship. He’s won four straight and eight overall CRAGA Stroke Play championships and recently competed in the U.S. Senior Open at Salem Country Club.
Matt Horton of the Country Club of Troy and Eagle Crest Golf Club assistant pro Scott Battiste, who topped the local qualifier last month at Normanside CC, will represent the Capital Region in next week’s New York State Open, also being held at Bethpage State Park’s Black Course on Long Island. Also in the field through various exemptions are six-time NENYPGA Player of the year Scott Berliner of Hiland GC, Normanside CC assistant Justin Hearley, Jeb Buchanan of Schuyler Meadows and CC of Pittsfield’s Eric Mabee. The tournament will be played Tuesday through Thursday.
Rolling Hills at Antlers Country Club hosts the next Eastern New York Golf Association event on Wednesday.
Former Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute standout golfer and assistant coach Jamie Jackson has been named the new RPI head golf coach. As a senior captain in 2015-16, Jackson averaged a team-best 76.7 strokes and had four top-10 finishes, including third overall at the NYU Spring Invitational. As a junior, he won four times. He’s currently one of the top players at Shaker Ridge CC.
Northway 8 Golf Center will put on a free junior golf clinic July 22. Sponsored by Puma, the clinic will be held at three different times: 11 a.m.-12 p.m., 1-2 p.m. and 3-4 p.m. For more information, call 371-3141.
Local club pros will compete in a Pro-Am Scratch event Monday at Albany CC.
Pinehaven Country Club hosts the next NYSGA Amateur Series even Monday.
The next major event on the Northeastern Women’s Golf Association schedule is the Gail Sykes Better Ball of Two Championship Thursday at McGregor Links CC. This tournament is named after one of the best players in Capital Region history who died this winter.
Will Hearley posted his sixth career hole-in-one with a pitching wedge on the 130-yard sixth hole at Normanside Country Club.
There were two holes-in-one at Whispering Pines this week. First-year golfer Laurie Matula holed out with a 7-iron on the 80-yard 16th hole, while Paul Lauyer used a 7-iron for his memorable shot on the 110-yard eighth hole.
Marc Charron eagled the 285-yard par-4 fourth hole at Stadium Golf Club by sinking a 7-iron from the fairway.
Bob Alheim, playing in the Sandbaggers league, holed out with a pitching wedge for an eagle on the par-5 ninth hole at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course.