Wednesday, July 9, 2014

2014 Season Kicks Off at Terry Hills

After a string of season openers with less than desirable conditions, the weather finally cooperated and provided a day of comfortable temperatures and sunny skies as the 2014 season of the GCAmTour kicked off at Terry Hills in Batavia, New York.

The Palmer Flight saw five golfers finish within one shot of the lead as Philip Swamp of Hogansburg, NY, came away with the victory by a single stroke over George Blanton of Manlius, NY. Swamp's finishing total of 75 was highlighted by an eagle on the par 4 8th hole.

In the Championship Flight, Michael Pogor showed that he plans to continue his winning ways as his round of 77 provided a comfortable margin of victory. 

Newcomer Michael Beauchamp from Utica, New York used a strong back nine to come from behind and eke out a 2 shot victory over another tour rookie Chris Mason in the Hogan Flight.

Malone, New York resident, Daniel Honahan took home the honors in the Sarazen Flight with a hard fought victory over Michael Murphy of Missassaqua, Ontario.

Winning is nothing new to Buffalo resident Christine Corcuera as 91 proved more than enough to better the field in the Jones Flight.

          Next on the tour schedule will be Lockport Town & Country Club on May 4th.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Brian Davis Claims 5th Victory of 2013

The weather broke just enough to allow the GCAmTour to take to the fairways of the outstanding layout provided at Greystone GC in Walmorth, NY for the 2013 Greystone Open, Saturday, June 26th.  What had been a torrent of heavy rain ended the day as a sunny warm sky and allow the players to finally enjoy a little warm on the links.  Greystone, regardless of all the rain thrown at them this past weekend, provided prime conditions aside from a few wet fairways, and the golfers responded.

Brian Davis continued his domination of the Championship Flight with his 5th win in 8 events on the 2013 season.  This victory however was not decided until the final hole as he edged tour rookie, Nick Boccio of Snyder by a single stroke.
The best round of the day was turned in by Matt DeLong of Frewsburg, NY in the Palmer Flight with a 3 over par 75. Tied with 2nd place finisher, Roger Waligora of Herkimer, NY, after 16 holes, DeLong’s birdie, par, birdie finish secured his first victory on the GCAmTour and made the long drive well worth it.
Tour newcomer, George Blanton of Manlius, NY kept his record perfect in the Hogan Flight with his 2nd victory in 2 events, this time a hard fought win over his nearest rival Tom Pettinella of Batavia.  Tied after the opening nine, Blanton’s ability to avoid a costly mistake led him to his victory.
There may have not been a birdie on the scorecard that Carl Assini of Rochester, NY turned in the Sarazen Flight but there were also no double bogies as well.  This consistency proved to be the right formula to earn the Assini player his 2nd crown of the season.
Winning is really nothing new for Pekka Ojapalo of Oakville, Ontario.  The 2009 Senior Snead National Champion, now playing in the Senior Jones Flight recorded his 2nd tour win of 2013.  Robert Zehler of Williamson, NY and David Yackoff of West Henrietta, NY finished 2 strokes back.

Next up for the Buffalo Edition of the Golf Channel Amateur Tour is a date at Seneca Hickory Stick on July 14th.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Englert Claims National Championship Exemption

It's been a long and arduous season to this point with the weather having a huge impact on scoring.  Wind, rain, cold and the dreaded "cart path only" only added to the frustrations that the local edition of the Golf Channel AmTour players have had to face during the 2013 season. Though the "cart path only" element reared it's ugly head once again, the weather took a turn for the better and warm, sunny skys greeted 32 tour players June 9th at the popular Mill Creek Golf Course in Churchville, NY, and the scoring showed how welcome a change it was.

Consistency has been the element that Ken Englert of Tonawanda, NY has always strived for in his game and it paid him great dividends Sunday as he claimed his 3rd victory of the year in the Palmer Flight (4 to 7.9 hdcp) and an exemption into the 2013 National Championships.  Making the turn at 4 over, Englert shot 1 under par on the finishing 9 holes with a clutch birdie on 18 to hold off Matt DeLong of Frewsburg, playing his 1st event on Tour, by a single stroke. DeLong who carded 5 birdies on the day including birdies on 17 and 18, just couldn't overcome Englert's great finish.
 Congratulations Ken on your accomplishment.

The debut of Nick Boccio from Snyder, New York in the Championship Flight (0 to 3.9 hdcp) was an impressive one as he turned in the low round of the day with a solid one over par 73. Playing in a pairing with his former 3rd grade teacher, Brian Davis of Amherst, Boccio's 2 stroke victory staked claim he is definitely someone to keep an eye on.

Returning to the winner's circle for the 2nd time this season was Jones Flight (16 to 19.9 hdcp) golfer Robert Zehler of Williamson, New York.  His outstanding score of 79 left his nearest competitor a full 9 strokes back.  A 6 year veteran of the tour, the victory is his 2nd in the last 3 events and an indication of how perseverance can pay off.

In the Hogan Flight (8 to 11.9 hdcp), George Blanton of Manlius, New York, made his Golf Channel AmTour debut a memorable one, parring the final 5 holes to hold off Mike Murphy of Missassauga, Ontario.  Locked in a 4 way tie after the opening nine holes, Blanton's ability to avoid double bogeys keyed his victory.

David Walker's even par opening nine holes proved to be too much for his fellow competitors to overcome in the Sarazen Flight (12 to 16.9 hdcp) as the Beaver dams native claimed victory in his 2nd tour event. Trailing by 7 strokes after the turn, Jeff Bossack of Oakville, Ontario made a valiant run up the leaderboard only to fall one stroke short after double bogeying the final hole. Walker, an artisan from the Corning area has a very unique golf related hobby, building glass putters in has spare time.
Next on the calender for the Golf Channel AmTour is the Heartland Open at PGA National at Swan Lake in Plymouth, Indiana.  The optional 2-day Major Event is another avenue where a top 3 finish in your designated flight will gain an exemption into the 2013 National Championships.  The local chapter of the AmTour will return to action on June 29th for the Greystone Open at the ever challenging Greystone Golf Course in Walworth, NY.

Derek Johnson Claims 3rd Victory

Cool, wet, and winds gusting up to 30 miles per hour added to the challenge presented by the picturesque Grand niagara Golf Course in Port Robinson, Ontario.  25 AmTour players from various regions of Canada and the United States teed it up on Sunday, June 2nd in their quest to gain entry into the 2013 National Championships.  The weather conditions only added to the challenge facing them.

Derek Johnson of Cambridge, Ontario and Chris Dopp of Collingwood, Ontario went to an extra hole in a playoff that saw Johnson gain claim his 3rd victory of the 2013 season.  With his victory, the Sarazen Flight competitor gained an exemption into the National Championships which will be staged on the LaQuinta Resort courses, a regular stop on the PGA Tour, in late September. Congratulations go out to Derek, a first year player on the tour, for his accomplishment.

It's been a rather up and down season for Jonathon Gingrich of Williamsville, New York but his ability to manage the difficult conditions presented to him by the high winds and wet conditions, allowed him to enter the winner's circle for the first time this season.  Gingrich, a tour rookie, took home the hardware by a 2 stroke margin in the Championship Flight (for golfers with 0 to 3.9 handicaps) over a hard charging Abraham Botha of Stoney Creek, Ontario.

Five victories on the 2012 season and a promotion to the Hogan Flight (8 to 11.9 hdcp) initially prompted Tom Pettinella of Batavia, NY to wonder just how competitive he would be in the lower handicap flight. If his closing nine holes Sunday are any indication, his fears are alleviated. His 2 stroke margin of victory over Tim Kozlow of Buffalo, his nearest competitor, and his trophy shelf show that he is someone to pay attention to.

Pekka Ojapalo, a resident of Oakville, Ontario and a native of Finland, won the 2009 Senior Snead National Championship on the same courses that this years championships will be staged, to become the first National Champion from the local chapter of the Golf Channel Amateur Tour. Now playing in the Jones Flight (16 to 19.9 hdcp), the competition has been much stiffer.  sunday his game was nearly unbeatable as he cruised to victory by a 10 stroke margin.
Next up will be the Battle at Mill Creek on June 9th at the always popular Mill Creek Golf Course in Churchville, NY just outside of Rochester.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Closing Birdies Fuel Assini's Victory

Ravenwood Golf Course in Victor, New York played host to the local edition of the Golf channel's Anmateur Tour on May 25th, the 30 tour players saw immediately why this is one of the favorite stops on the tour.  Always a true challenge of a fgolfer's skill, cool, wet and windy conditions made the task of scoring a bit more difficult.

Trailing the leader, Derek Johnson of Burlington, Ontario, heading to the last 2 holes, Rochester's Carl Assini needed to make something happen if he were to have a chance at returning to the winners circle after a long victory drought.  The Sarazen Flight golfer did just that, closing with birdies on both the 17th and 18th holes to claim the title. "The game has really been coming around of late but I never expected a finish like this" he said.  One of the tour's original members, it good to see persistence pay dividends.

Claiming his 3rd win of the year and an exemption into the 2013 National Championships, Donald Sheldon of Honesdale, Pennsylvania, used an "avoid the heather at all costs" strategy to out distance his fellow competitors in the Jones Flight with a exemplary well played 91.  Sheldon has shown marked improvement in 2013 and the long drives have been well worth it this year.

Don't tell Frances Venema of Burlington, Ontario that she has no business competing against the men.  She showed all doubters that she's for real with an 8 stroke victory over her nearest competitor in the Snead Flight.  One of 3 lady competitors on the tour this year, Frances took the lead on the 3rd hole and never looked back.

When Michael Pogor of Burlington, Ontario and Brian Davis of Amherst are in the field of the AmTour's Championship Flight, it's always a fun battle to watch. This day was no different. With the lead changing hands several times throughout the course of the competition, both players walked off the 18th tied for the lead.  In dramatic fashion, Pogor's long birdie putt on the extra hole delivered him his 2nd title of the season.

Trailing after nine holes, Buffalo resident Chris Dolce found the range and fired an event par 36 over the closing nine to edge Steve Wedekind of Newfane, NY by a single shot.  The victory was Dolce's 2nd of the year and further solified his season lead in the Palmer Flight's points race.

Though the temperature may be a slight bit colder in Western New York than what Ponte Vedre Beach, Florida resident Jim McLaughlin may be used to, it doesn't seem to affect his golf game. His one stroke victory over Mike Murphy of Missassauga, Ontario in the Hogan Flight is testament to that.  The victory was McLaughlin's second on the season.

Horrendous Weather Doesn't Slow Johnson

Cold, wind, and rain, the type of weather conditions that tend to keep most golfers at home in front of the television, didn't stop 27 Golf Channel Amateur players from taking on the test of John Daly's Thundering Waters in Niagara Falls, Ontario on May 5th.  As difficult as the conditions were however, a few low scores topped the leader board.

Playing perhaps his best round of the season, Derek Johnson of Burlington, Ontario proved to be no match for the weather much less his competition in the Sarazen Flight.  The long hitting Johnson carded 4 birdies to shoot the days best round, a  76,  and take home the title.

 2012 proved to be a difficult season for tour veteran Robert Zehler.  After an outstanding 2011 season, highlighted by a top 3 finish at the National Championships, his game seemed to desert him.  If his 2 shot victory in the Jones Flight is any indication, he just may be back.  "Better ball striking" provided by concentrated practice and a minor swing change helped him overcome a late lead by Chris Jerge of West Seneca and return him to the winners circle.
Canada's Ted Brethour, a tour rookie had to go to a playoff to claim his 1st title in the Hogan Flight.  West Seneca native, Larry Kavaugh overcame a rough start to shoot one over par on the finishing nine holes to necessitate the playoff only to be bested by Brethour on the extra hole.

In the Palmer Flight, Tonawanda resident Ken Englert, took great advantage of his "take what the conditions will allow" approach to gain a 4 shot victory and his 2nd win of the season.  Both Chris Dolce of Buffalo and Phillip Swamp of Hogansburg provided an early challenge, as the weather conditions grew worse, Englert's steady play became too much to overcome.

A triple bogey on the par 3 tenth hole did nothing to deter Brian Davis of Amherst, NY as he rode a well played 78 to victory in the Championship Flight.  One of the tour's most consistent players, he once again displayed a fortitude that makes him a truly worthy adversary.

Corcuera's Eagle Keys Victory

The picturesque Lockport Town & Country Club played host to the Golf Channel Amtour May 5th and provided a unique challenge as wet spring conditions left the rough long and difficult to play from.  24 golfers across 4 flights took the challenge on the tours 2nd stop of the spring.

Christine Corcuera's eagle on the par 4 7th hole proved to be the decisive shot in the Jones Flight as she became the first lady to claim victory on the local edition of the Golf Channel Amtour.  Charles Feldmann of Buffalo finished a shot back as he couldn't overcome an early deficit.

Andrew Esten of Oakfield, New York claimed his inaugural tour victory with a hard fought battle in the Palmer Flight.  Steve Wedekind of Newfane led most of the day, but his triple bogey on the finishing hole opened the door just enough for Esten to claim the crown.

On his 2 years on the Amtour, Brian Davis is no stranger to the winners circle.  Already exempt into the 2013 National Championships by virtue of a top 5 finish at the 2012 Nationals, his steady play event to event was again evident as he claimed his third 2013 tour victory in the Championship Flight

Jeff Bossack of Oakville, Ontario didn't let a stiff back stand in his way as he parlayed a couple of well-timed birdies to out distance his nearest competitor, James Moore of Newfane, to claim victory in the Sarazen Flight by a comfortable 3 stroke margin.