Golf Gazette: Metro area offers great golf at great sites

The 2012 Ike Championship, a prestigious yearly event run by the Metropolitan Golf Association, was held June 26 and 27 at Atlantic Golf Club in Bridgehampton, bringing together the top amateur players from the metropolitan area. Competitors played qualifying rounds at different sites in late May for the right to play at Atlantic for the championship trophy.

The first day of competition saw 104 players tackle the difficult, wind-swept, 7,000-yard course. Forty players with the lowest scores from the first round moved on to play 36 holes on the final day of the tournament. Connecticut native Cameron Wilson was this year’s medalist, finishing nine strokes ahead of runners-up Joe Saladino of Huntington Country Club and Max Buckley of Westchester Country Club. Wilson, a junior attending Stamford University, recently played in his first United States Open at The Olympic Club in San Francisco.

Our local representative in this year’s “Ike” was David Kuck, playing out of Cherry Creek Golf Links in Riverhead. Kuck shot a sizzling round of 74 at Huntington Country Club to qualify for this year’s tournament. “Qualifying for this event is the best achievement so far in my golfing career,” Kuck said.

Kuck, a physical therapist, did not start playing golf until after he graduated from college. “I started playing golf late in life and now I can’t get enough of it,” he said. “I tried qualifying for MGA events seven times before I qualified for this year’s Ike. Now I know I can compete at this level.”

Kuck said he was nervous in the early going of round one. He settled down nicely on the back nine, however, he failed to make the cut, which was at 79. I walked with David on his last nine holes and was impressed with his enthusiasm and class. I expect to see him competing again soon.

Having attended golf tournaments most of my life, it amazes me how few people come out to watch these very good players. Normally there is no admission charge and you can get right up close to the action.

In addition to watching great golf and not seeing anything resembling a poor swing, many of these tournaments are held at some pretty swanky country clubs, clubs that only the “one percent” get to see.

There are different ways to spend your day at these events. Some choose to find a shady spot and watch as the competitors file through. Others will pick a player or two and follow them around the course. Both techniques make for a very enjoyable day on the links.

You can go on-line to the United States Golf Association, the Metropolitan Golf Association, the New York State Golf Association and the Long Island Golf Association for events in our area.

TEE TIMES Big news from the Dempsey household regarding the 2013 United States Women’s Open, which will be held at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton next June. I will be covering the event as your golf guy and am happy to report that my wife, Jean, will also be working at the tournament. Jean has signed up to work as a course marshal. She is very excited. So excited in fact, I think she may end up sleeping in her uniform. There is a problem, however. Those who know Jean know she takes any assignment given to her extremely seriously. In this case, she has already started to practice for her role at Sebonack. Lately, while enjoying our dinner and with yours truly in mid-sentence, Mrs. D may blurt out, “Quite, please!” She has also taken to blocking my path to the bathroom, saying things like: “Golfers coming through. Sorry, you’ll have to wait.” Eleven months to go before the ladies tee it up in Southampton. Wish me luck.

The USGA is looking for volunteers, women and men, to work at the 2013 Women’s Open. There are many different jobs and committees to choose from. You will only work a few hours during the week and will be given a pass to attend every day of the tournament. It’s a good deal and a great experience. Call Laura Caleal at (631) 287-4444 for details.

Vince Scheraldi of Cherry Creek Golf Links and The Woods at Cherry Creek reported holes-in-one at the Riverhead courses. Colin Brown aced No. 8 at The Woods while Gale Stenquist holed out on the second hole at Cherry Creek. Vince said both aces were made within minutes of each other. You can bet there were lots of beverages flowing in the clubhouse that day. Tim Dougherty recorded his second career hole-in-one on Swan Lake’s seventh hole, 47 years after his first ace as a 12-year-old.

A fund-raiser for the Joe Theinert Scholarship Fund will be held on Monday at Claudio’s Clam Bar in Greenport. One of the prizes will be for a foursome to play at three golf courses that are difficult to get reservations at: Altantic Golf Course, Noyack Country Club and The Bridge Golf Course. Bidding will start at 7 p.m. at Claudio’s Clam Bar. Anyone interested in bidding who cannot make it to the event may make a phone bid to Steve at (631) 484-6505.

There is still time to sign up for the rescheduled J. C. Mendreski Memorial Scholarship Golf Outing that will be held July 30 at the Woods at Cherry Creek and Stonewalls Restaurant. The cost is $150 per person. Registration will start at noon, followed by a barbecue lunch at 12:30 p.m. and a shotgun start at 1:30 p.m. Afterward, there will be an open bar, a buffet dinner and the awarding of prizes. To reserve a place, call Ross at (631) 512-5811 or Jill at (631)846-3136. Non-golfers are welcome to attend the dinner for $55.

19TH HOLE You don’t need to be a golf fan to enjoy author Jeff Miller’s new book, “North Fork Country Club — 100th Anniversary — 1912-2012” (Penguin Publishing). Miller, the former Suffolk Times editor, effectively delves into the archives of North Fork Country Club, providing interesting and amusing stories, tales and history about the club, its founders and members, past and present.