Saturday, October 23, 2021

Down the Fairway: Top 10 Moments from an Exciting Summer at Capital Region Golf

Despite one of the hottest summers in recent memory, the capital region enjoyed a few months of top-class golf moments and remarkable achievements.

Here’s a longtime writer’s top-10 list.

1. Gloversville native and Amsterdam businessman Lance Orcutt purchased the 27-hole Van Patten Golf Club facility in Clifton Park and plans to make several major changes, including a massive redesign by renowned course architect Rees Jones and an 18-hole executive possibility to include. Period. Orcat will install a new drainage and irrigation system and is procuring new vehicles with GPS systems. He has already appointed a new executive chef for the facility’s Vista restaurant.

2. Hagman’s Dan Russo, 63, not only won his second NYS Senior Men’s Amateur Golf Championship, but he also qualified for the prestigious US Senior Amateur and earned a spot in match play. He has won 19 major championships in the capital region, including 9 CRAGA stroke play titles, and has participated in 13 national USGA Championship events.

3. Paul Pretico, 60, tied Jim Mueller for the most Schenectady Classic wins with his eighth at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course. The former pro, who also has the NYS Senior Men’s Amateur title on his resume, posted a three-day total of 216.

4. The unknown Lucas Sirois, originally from Connecticut relative, won the Schenectady Senior Classic by four shots over Pratico for his first local major tournament win. He carded a two-day total of 3-under-par 141 and was steady down the stretch, especially with his excellent ball-strike.

5. Former Siena College women’s basketball standout, Heidi Harkins of Ballston Spa CC successfully battled nerves to earn her first Northeast Women’s Golf Association championship at Colony Golf & Country Club.

6. Kennedy Swedick, 14, of the Albany Academy for Girls, competed in her first professional tournament and was set to work in the opening round of the Symmetra Tour’s Twin Bridge Championship, shooting a 5-over-par 76 that included a Even- equal nine and three birdies in his last four holes at Pinehaven CC. The very first Section II girls individual champion had an outstanding summer competing in the prestigious US Girls Junior Championships and Junior PGA Championship. She is a national finalist in the drive, chip and putt at Augusta National Golf Club.

7. The Capital Territory hosted three New York State Golf Association events, including the NYS Men’s Amateur at Schuyler Meadows Club, the NYS Women’s Senior and Super Senior Championships in Pinehaven CC, and the NYS Men’s Mid-Amateur Championships in Shaker Ridge CC. It was a tremendous showing for the best players in the state in some of our local course gems. The local people were competitive in all three events.

8. Scott Berliner, 46, assistant pro at the Saratoga Spa Golf Course, saw his amazing run of the Nanny PGA Stroke Play Championship on 10 in a row by Pittsfield chiefs pro Eric Maby’s CC in Troy’s CC in May, but Berliner saw two Other majors, the Donald Ross Classic and Neney returned to win the PGA Professional Championship, where he was an excellent 13-under-par for two days at Hilland Park CC.

9. AJ Cavota, the former Saratoga Springs High School standout who earned NEC All-Conference second team and Northeast Conference Rookie of the Year honors for Southern New Hampshire University this spring, won both the US Open sectional competition and the NYS Open at Bethpage Qualified for State Park on Long Island. He also won the Saratoga County Amateur.

10. Mary Jo Kelly of Wolferts Roast CC won the NYS Women’s Super Senior Amateur Golf Championship by two strokes in her first event in that age group at Pinehaven CC. Kelly is a former NYS Women’s Amateur title list, six-time NEWGA champion, multiple-time Gazette Women’s Amateur winner, and a 30-time club champion on the roost. She was one of the top best ball players in the capital region along with longtime partner Alain Sours.

Warren moves on

Scott Warren, 51, general manager at Pinehaven CC, will step down at the end of the season to open his own business, an indoor golf studio called SimGolf, located on 1451 State Highway 5S in Amsterdam.

Warren is targeting to open the facility, which will include five simulators and a smaller food and beverage operation, in early November.

Guilderland High School grad began his career as an assistant pro at Pinehaven CC. He became Head Pro in 1999 and became club manager in 2015. She was also the former assistant University Girls basketball coach at Guilderland for five years and has been The College of St. Rose golf coach since 2012. He will continue in that. Post.

“I will miss everything about Pinehaven CC,” Warren said. “I’ve originally been at Pinehaven CC since 1996, and in many ways I grew up and spent most of my adult life there. I’ve had some wonderful experiences. During my time there we hosted several state championships, and our I had a very clean opportunity to host a pro event with this year’s Twin Bridge Championship. We also celebrated our 50th anniversary at the club. I’ve been lucky to have so many members who have treated me so well And he has been so generous to me and my family. I appreciate it so much and I will miss him.

“I look forward to making new friends and meeting new people in the golf business. I am also excited to offer my friends and the members of Pinehaven CC to come to see me and my new business venture. I would like to invite them to a I can provide a unique experience.”

During Warren’s time as Head Pro, he owned the Pro Shop concession, managed golf operations, ran tournaments, and did instructional programs. When he became general manager, his duties shifted to coordinating and recruiting and handling new membership, budgeting, overseeing club and swimming pool operations, and keeping the club’s website up to date.

sectional timing

Local high school boys in Section II begin the golf section with a Class BCD tournament on Tuesday in the Fairways of Halfmoon and a Class A tournament on Wednesday, also in the Fairways of Halfmoon. The state qualifiers continue on the fairway of Halfmoon October 16-17.

Local girls will compete in their sectional tournaments in all divisions at McGregor Lynx Country Club on 12 October.

chip shots

Normanside CC assistant pro Justin Hurley teams up with fellow Christian Brothers Academy graduate Don Dennis to shoot 11-under-par for 27 holes to capture the Bill Mall Memorial triple play tournament on Monday at Eagle Crest Golf Club Work done. Each of the nine holes used a different team format.

Hell’s Mills CC is hosting the Spacklers Impossible Pin Tournament on Sundays at 10 a.m. Entry fees are $55 for non-members and $45 for members. The total team handicap must be at least 40 for a four-person melee. The entrance fee includes hot dogs on the turn and golf followed by chili and hamburgers. For more information call Pro Shop at 518-733-4622.

Eagle Crest GC will host its 31st annual ScrambleMania at noon on Friday. The cost is $95 per player and includes golf, cart, beer, soda, pie and chili throughout the day during the game, appetizers, dinner, and dessert after the tournament. There will be team gross and net prizes, as well as a skins game. The team handicap will be based on 10 percent of the total team handicap. All players must establish verifiable odds in order to be eligible for the Pure Prize.

Briar Creek Golf Course is hosting its October-Fast Friday. The four-person scramble costs $75 and includes golf, carts, lunch, and a buffet dinner after the tournament. Beer and soda will also be included. There will be a continental breakfast at 9 a.m., followed by a shotgun start at 10 a.m. Call 518-355-6145 to reserve your spot.

University of Albany sophomore Amber Thornton broke the women’s golf team records for an 18-hole score (66) and a 54-hole total (210) on her way to win the individual title at the Princeton Invitational this week. The Great Danes finished fifth as a team.

Schenectady Municipal Golf Course’s Bob Haggerty Two-Man Championship is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, with an entry fee of $150 per person. The entrance fee includes a cart, lunch on the first day and dinner on the second day. For more information call Schenectady Municipal at 518-381-3155.

Airway Meadows Golf Club’s 23rd annual Oktoberfest tournament is set to take place on Sunday. The entrance fee for a four-person scramble will be $120 for non-members. There will be a minimum of 72 players and a maximum of 144, with the competition divided into three or four flights depending on the number of entries. Admission fee includes golf, cart, lunch, beer, wine and soda from noon, and a steak and chicken dinner. For more information call 518-792-4144.

The Berliners (see Top 10 season moments above) won the Nanny PGA Assistant Match Play Championship by defeating Andrew Daly of Albany CC 6 and 4 in the final at Wynteneck CC. Dull Daly completed a sweep of the Nenny PGA Senior Majors by defeating Tom Opedisano of Skidmore College 3rd and 2nd in the Senior Match Play Finals. Local club pros compete in their final major event with their Tour Championship at the Country Club in Pittsfield on Tuesday and Wednesday. At the same time, the Rolex Player of the Year will be decided.


Matt Sipniewski uses a pitching wedge for his ace on the 141-yard fifth hole at Stadium Golf Club.

At the Country Club of Troy, Dennis Gagnon recorded his first hole-in-one with a 5-hybrid on the 129-yard second hole.

Rhett Lackey used a 6-iron for his ace on the 13th hole, and Mike Brown recorded a hole-in-one on the 17th hole at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course.

UAlbany’s Thornton has been on a hot streak lately. He also recorded his second career hole-in-one on the 10th hole at Wolfert’s Roast Country Club during a practice round.

Ivan Spoth of Shenendhova High School collected his first career ace with a 5-iron on the 13th hole of The Edison Club during a suburban council match with Shaker.

reach out to bob wiener here [email protected]

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