It promises to be a much different points race for the men this season in the Buffalo District Golf Association.
Defending champion Raman Luthra put himself right in the mix to repeat with his victory Monday in the mid-amateur tournament, but he’s still looking up in the standings to Matt Stasiak.
Stasiak’s win Sunday in the second annual Erie County Amateur Championship gave him 439 points this season through the first seven of 15 points events this season. Luthra is just four behind, at 435.
“Everybody’s playing really well. Nobody’s really running away with it,” Stasiak said. “It’s about staying close to the top so when the district championship rolls around at Crag Burn in August … so if you win that, you win the points title. I know Raman’s playing really well. I’ve played with him quite a few times, so it should be a fun end of the summer here.“
Stasiak found himself trailing by two shots at the start of the final round, but ripped off three straight birdies on holes six, seven and eight on his way to a round of 3-under 67. That gave him a five-shot victory over first-round leader Dan Yustin (68-74-142) and Johnathan Snyder of Hamburg (72-70-142).
“I just played really solid and hit a lot of greens,” Stasiak said. “Didn’t make too many mistakes. I like where my game’s at right now. It’s progressing the way I’d like it to.”
Stasiak spoke highly of the Erie County Amateur, which was contested this year at Elma Meadows after debuting last season at Grover Cleveland.
“It’s a lot of fun. Most of the Buffalo District tournaments we play are at country clubs, or courses like that,” he said. “Elma was awesome. It played really long and tough. It’s not really what you’d expect from a public course, but it wasn’t easy. I hit a lot of long irons into a lot of greens. I think it’s a great tournament, and with it only being its second year, it’s only going to get a bigger and better field from here on out.”
On the women’s side, Chelsea Dantonio of Lancaster shot a two-round total of 149 to win the championship by three strokes over Sara Riso of Hamburg.
It’s being touted as a win-win for Rochester and the LPGA Tour that the 2014 Wegmans LPGA Championship will stay in the area, but it’s changing dates and courses.
The tournament will shift from June at Locust Hill Country Club to August at Monroe Golf Club.
The event will remain a major championship, and retain Wegmans as a sponsor.
The Donald Ross-designed Monroe Golf Club was ranked 89th on Golfweek’s 2012 list of the top 100 classic courses in the U.S. It already hosts a premier amateur tournament for men each year, and should be well-equipped for a women’s major next summer.
That’s all good news.
But with only a one-year agreement in place with Monroe, the question of, will the tour be back or won’t it, looks like it will continue. The LPGA seems hell bent on rotating the site, but will likely not retain the sponsorship of Wegmans if it leaves Western New York.
A rotation of courses in the golf-rich Rochester area could work, and Locust Hill president Tom Mannella told the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle that’s something his course would be interested in. Next summer will be the first time since 1976 Locust Hill will not host an LPGA event.
But here’s an idea: If a Buffalo-area course was ever interested in trying to bring an LPGA event back to the area, now would be the time. (For those wondering, River Oaks on Grand Island hosted the Niagara Frontier Classic in 1973-74).
It would seem Wegmans would stay interested in sponsoring an event here, and the LPGA might not object to a new area, but one that is also close enough to its strong market in Rochester.
• The first round of the 84th annual New York State Women’s Amateur was held Tuesday at the Country Club of Ithaca. A pair of local players in Kit Creighton and Rene Sobolewski, both of whom play out of Crag Burn, are tied for fifth after shooting 5-over 77.
They trail leader Rebecca Studin, who opened with a 2-over 74 in setting the pace for a field of 68 players.
Marah Penn, who also plays out of Crag Burn, is tied for seventh after an opening round of 78, while Riso is tied for 10th after carding 79.
Other locals participating, along with their home course, spot in the standings and first-round scores are: Julie Murphy of Brookfield (T16, 81), Lori Potter of East Aurora (T24, 82), Victoria Parker of Orchard Park (T28, 83), Christy Malo of River Oaks (T44, 88), Emily Connors of Crag Burn (T49, 91), Kathy Zawicki of St. Bonaventure Golf Course (T49, 91), Alyssa Klenk of Tan Tara (T53, 93), Donna Parker of Orchard Park (T53, 93) and Molly Flynn of East Aurora (T64, 102).
In the state women’s mid-amateur, being played concurrently, Murphy is tied for fourth, Potter is 10th, Malo is tied for 13th, Zawicki is tied for 17th, Parker is tied for 19th and Flynn is 26th in a field of 29.
• Marc Siebert of Brierwood Country Club shot an even-par round of 71 recently at Springville Country Club to take medalist honors in a sectional qualifier for the 91st New York State Men’s Amateur Championship, which will be held from July 23-25 at Schuyler Meadows Club.
Siebert was one of 16 qualifiers from a field of 67. Also earning spots were: Thad Wier III (Springville, 72), Adam Boland (Crag Burn, 72), Chris Garvey (eClub WNY, 73), Billy Gaffney (Crag Burn, 74), Gregory Richardson (Crag Burn, 74), Desmond Stoll (Lockport Town & CC, 74), Billy Hanes (Crag Burn, 75), Chris Hugill (Lockport Town & CC, 75), Andy Bernatovicz (River Oaks, 75), Marty Bergerson (Brierwood, 76), Gregory Cecchini (Crag Burn, 76), Scott Smith (76), David Scamurra (Crag Burn, 77), Paul Kudela (Hickory Stick, 77) and Charlie Barth (Cherry Hill, 77).
• Mark Drabik and Michael Carrig teamed up to win the Bert Nash scratch best ball tournament at Crag Burn recently for the second year in a row. Drabik and Carrig shot a score of 14-under during the 54-hole tournament.
• The News’ tips series with local PGA professionals will resume next week. Any local golf items of note are welcome at the email address below.