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Golf: A classic with a makeover hosts Classic

Golf: A classic with a makeover hosts Classic

Schenectady Municipal hosts Schenectady Classic
Golf: A classic with a makeover hosts Classic
Photographer: Bob Weiner/For The Daily Gazette

Schenectady Municipal Golf Course has received quite a facelift since the last time this 83-year-old layout hosted a major amateur event. Although the Muny regulars have already enjoyed the numerous changes begun last autumn, the entire field will get the opportunity to appreciate them this week when the annual

Schenectady Classic is contested Friday through Sunday.

The Schenectady Classic, formerly the Schenectady County Amateur, was open only to county residents until a couple of years ago. Now, the field is wide open, and it includes a women’s division for the first two rounds. The Daily Gazette continues as the title sponsor.

“There’s been a lot of stuff going on here,” Schenectady Municipal head pro Matt Daley said this week. “Plenty of changes.”

Daley pointed out that the cart path between the par-5 second hole and the par-3 third hole has been changed. “We did a pretty large drainage project there. It helped dry up the whole area, and it moved the cart path a little closer to the water. It was really more for safety. It takes them away from the line of fire when the guys are hitting from the tee on the third hole,” Daley said. “The course architect thought it was a safety hazard the way it was, so we basically 
redesigned it.”

Daley said the changes around this section of the course opened it up and made that area much more scenic. “We cleared all the shrubs around the pond, and with the new tee complexes, it looks beautiful. You can see down the 16th hole and down No. 2. There are so many open views throughout the whole course that you didn’t see before. It’s gorgeous,” Daley said.

There is a new cart path going from the fifth to the sixth hole, and a new cart path that swings around the 16th hole to face the tee. “We’ve also rebuilt the 15th and 17th tee complexes, and they’ve also received new cart paths,” Daley said. “Our new practice putting green will open next month. Unfortunately, it’s not quite ready.”

Golfers also will notice that the parking lot is being repaved. “When the tournament players pull in, they might be directed to a spill over lot while the new paving is being done,” Daley said. “We are going to have a new cart staging area, a bag drop, and a nice new parking lot.”

With all the changes in the facility itself, Daley said the recent changes in the format is helping to keep this annual three-day event relevant in a time when similar tournaments are suffering major drop-offs in entries. The original Schenectady County Amateur has been conducted since 1951, making it one of the oldest continually run tour­naments in the Capital Region.

“Certainly, the change to an open format has made it far more competitive in terms of how deep the field is,” 

Daley said. “You can reel off 15 players that have a legit­imate chance to win, but it’s also a great opportunity for players to get a taste of the competition for the first time. They can get the experience of tournament competition. Tournament play has a totally different feel,” Daley said.

“It’s one thing to play in your league and shoot a 36 or a 37 when some guys give you putts. It’s another thing when you start to think about what it means to make the cut. It makes you a lot more nervous. Everybody wants to make their friends or their family proud of them and they don’t want to embarrass themselves. I think that’s a terrible attitude. Change your mental approach and tell yourself that you are entering to win.”

Former champions such as eight-time and defending titlist Jim Mueller, six-time winner Paul Pratico, three-time winner Rob Bigley Jr., and Mike Wheeler, Aaron Simone, Jerry Brescia and Ben Bates are entered. Defending Capital Region Amateur Golf Association Stroke Play 
titlist Joe Fitzsimons, former New York State Mid-Amateur champion Jim Welch and former Tri-County Golf Assoc­iation Match Play titlist Chad Stoffer are also in the field, as well as Paul Hart, Lance Hope, the tournament runner-up the last two seasons, and former Schenectady Senior Classic champion Tony Cristello.

“Then we’ve also got a lot of Muny regulars who get in every year,” Daley said. “You’ve got Ron Cohen, Matt Panneton, Bob Alheim and John Cimmino, who have been playing forever and have a great chance to make the final cut.”

The women’s field includes defending champion Nancy Kroll, who also won the Northeastern Women’s Golf 
Association crown last year.

Call the Muny pro shop at 518-382-5155 for more information on how to enter.

NEW EVENT IN COBLESKILL

Cobleskill Golf & Country Club will host the first Schoharie County Open Amateur Tournament Saturday July 7. The amateur tour­nament will determine the 2018 player of the year for Schoharie County. All Cobleskill Golf & Country Club members are invited to play, but competition is open to all non-members, regardless of where they reside.

Competition will be conducted in the Open division (blue tees), men’s division (white tees), senior Division (65 years of age and older, silver tees) and women’s division (red tees). All flight winners will be determined by gross scores for 18 holes, but handicaps will be used as the basis for additional flights should the turnout be very large.

Entry fee for non-members will be $40 ($28 for the cart, $12 for the prize fund). Club members will be assessed $12 for the prize pool and a cart fee, if required. Call Cobleskill G&CC at 518-234-4045 for more information.

CHIP SHOTS

The Donald Ross Classic, which is the second major of the season for local club professionals of the Northeastern New York PGA, will be played Sunday at The Sagamore Resort in Bolton Landing and Monday at Glens Falls Country Club. Scott Berliner, assistant pro at Hiland Golf Club, is the two-time defending champion. He recently won his eighth consecutive NENY PGA Stroke Play championship at Waubeeka Links CC in Williamstown, Mass.

The next Eastern New York Golf Association event will be Wednesday at Cobleskill G&CC.

HOLES-IN-ONE

David Arakelian recorded his eighth career hole-in-one with a 7-iron on the 150-yard second hole at the Country Club of Troy.

At Schenectady Municipal Golf Course, Leland Quivey aced the third hole.

Arnie Prudhomme of Saratoga Springs used a utility wood to record his second hole-in-one on the 15th hole at Brookhaven Golf Course.

Rich Berkowitz aced the 175-yard 25th hole with a 5-wood at The Edison Club.

EAGLES

Dottie Daly of Schenec­tady, competing in the American Singles Golf Assoc­iation’s nine and dine event, eagled the par-4 seventh hole at Stadium Golf Club with a 9-wood.

Brandon Alois and John Lefsyk both eagled the par-5 ninth hole at Schenectady Municipal while playing in the Sandbagger league.

Reach Bob Weiner at Weindog58@gmail.com or @BobWeiner58 on Twitter.

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