Dan Russo, the undisputed Capital Region King of the Hill when it comes to winning major men’s amateur championships, has kept a low profile this season.
There are several reasons why, including some family health issues that have consumed much of his spare time. But although the 61-year-old Hagaman native might be slowing down a touch, he still has plenty of game, as evidenced by his recent performance in the revived Amsterdam City Championship, held last weekend at Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course.
Russo, who grew up playing Amsterdam Muni before becoming a longtime member of nearby Rolling Hills at Antlers Country Club and then joining Schuyler Meadows, is back at his old home course this summer. He shook off some of the rust by winning the first Amsterdam City Championship since 2008. Russo was certainly eligible for the senior division, but he played in the open division instead and carded a 68 in the final round of the 36-hole event to claim his sixth Amsterdam City title. Russo is now one of only three players to win this event in three different decades.
Mike Arminio, an Eastern New York Golf Association stalwart, was the runner-up. Matt Ossenfort edged Lou Deal (142-143) to take the net title, while Ron Limoncelli topped Pete Bennice in the senior division.
Russo’s resume slowly expands. People in the Fort Johnson/Amsterdam region know Russo for his dominance in that area, especially for winning just about every Rolling Hills at Antlers CC major tournament that he played.
But Russo is also a juggernaut outside of his hometown. He surpassed longtime Wolferts Roost CC standout Charlie Murphy Jr. as the area’s all-time major champion winner with 18. That includes eight Capital Region Amateur Golf Association Stroke Play Championships, two Tri-County Golf Association Stroke Play titles, the predecessor of the CRAGA event, five TCGA Match Play crowns, two Troy Invitational victories and one Times Union Amateur triumph in a tournament that is now defunct.
He also won three Edison Invitationals, once considered the best one-day tournament for elite scratch amateurs.
Winner of just about every major partners championship as well, including the Mohawk Member-Guest, Russo is not content to dominate locally. He is most proud of competing in 11 United States Golf Association championships. He and David Hayes of Schuyler Meadows have also traveled to and won numerous elite team events throughout the country.
Cousins Nick Braman and Madison Braman successfully defended their title in the seventh annual New York State Mixed Team Amateur Championship held recently at Teugega Country Club. They won by a comfortable seven shots and posted six birdies and an eagle in the challenging Chapman (alternate shot) format. Another highlight for the local contingent was a hole-in-one by Nancy Kroll of Pinehaven Country Club. It was on the 169-yard 12th hole and was the eighth of her career.
At Orchard Creek, Howard Shapiro of Loudonville shot a 79 to beat his age just days after celebrating his 80th birthday.
Peter Gerard of Mill Road Acres defeated Erik Tiele of Waubeeka Golf Links, 6 and 4, to win the Northeastern New York PGA’s Senior Match Play title at The Edison Club. Tim LaSargo, of The Sagamore Resort, beat Bob Aronowicz of Waubeeka, 7 and 5, to win the Assistants Match Play crown.
The following earned NENY PGA Junior Golf Association Player of the Year awards: Clarkie Carroll of Saratoga Springs (boys’ 16-18 division), Nicole Criscone of Clifton Park (girls’ 16-18), Aidan Campbell of Clifton Park (boys’ 13-15), Kennedy Swedick of Altamont (girls’ 13-15), Brayden Dock of Queensbury (boys’ 8-12) and Maria Glavin of Waterford (girls’ 8-12).
Brian Mariano shot a two-day total of 74-73 — 147 to win the club championship at Mechanicville Golf Club.
Doug Roche and Mary Jane Crowley won senior club championships at The Edison Club. Roche has won his title in six of the last 10 years. Crowley’s great aunt, Mary Marshall, was The Edison Club’s first women’s senior club champion in 1960.
Speaking of The Edison Club, head pro Brad Gardner will be competing in his annual Golf-A-Thon to benefit the Folds of Honor Foundation on Sept. 11. Last year, Gardner played 171 holes over 11 hours and raised more than $21,000. Fields of Honor provides educational scholarships for children and spouses of fallen and disabled veterans. To make a pledge, contact The Edison Club at 518-399-2992.
Club GM and owner Bill Paulsen Jr. won the Eagle Crest club championship with a 72-83 — 155.
Paul Pawlik aced the 17th hole for his first hole-in-one at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course.
At Stadium Golf Club, Jackie Grady holed out with a 7-iron on the 160-yard 12th hole.
Sara Spychalski aced the 96-yard fourth hole with an 8-iron at Shaker Ridge CC.
Art Everetts had a big round last Saturday with eagles on both the par-4 seventh and par-5 16th holes at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course.
Jay Wynn eagled the par-5 fourth hole at Mechanicville Golf Club.