By Mike Zacchio
THIELLS — This year’s Rockland County Net Amateur Rally for the Cure brought out its share of new faces to Philip J. Rotella Memorial Golf Course, but it was the familiar faces that took home top honors.
The sixth annual tournament drew 73 entries, a nice turnout according to Rotella head golf professional Michael Laudien.
Laudien, who is in his 10th year at Rotella, wanted to run an event to raise breast cancer awareness after losing his grandmother to the disease.
“This is exactly what I want it to be — it’s for recreational golfers with their handicap, and they get to enjoy playing for a wonderful cause,” Laudien said.
Two of the three champions from last year were crowned again this year, although only one defended her title.
Haverstraw’s Rita Sottovia, who lost her mother to breast cancer, shot a 2-under-par 70 net to repeat as the women’s division champion. Sottovia would later win the 50/50 raffle, banking $400 in cash.
“How about that?” Sottovia said. “I couldn’t believe it.”
Garnerville resident John Spallin, who lost his sister to breast cancer at just 32 years old, also won for the second consecutive year, only this time he took home the men’s division title to add to his senior men’s division crown from last year.
“The tournament is pretty special to me,” Spallin said. “Everything went right today.”
Spallin appeared to make the right decision not entering the senior division; his impressive 9-under-par 63 was topped by longtime tournament participant Charlie Jones.
Jones, who coaches the Nanuet varsity golf team, carded a tournament-best 10-under-par 62, thanks in large part to his gross score of 75, which was also tops in the men’s field.
“This is the first time they let us play from the gold tees (60-plus), so I had to take advantage of it,” Jones said with a chuckle.
Jones said he continues to come every year to help support the cause.
“The cause is unbelievable,” he said. “I had some friends of mine who have battled cancer and made it, so it’s something very close to me.”