By Dan DeFrancesco
SCARSDALE — Gregg Angelillo likes to joke that he can’t tell his wife, Marianne, when he’s out playing golf.
Angelillo doesn’t have to worry about hiding Wednesday’s performance in the 80th William Rice Hochster Memorial Tournament from his wife.
The 42-year-old Baltusrol Golf Club member finished first in the 36-hole amateur tournament at Quaker Ridge with a 5-over 145.
Angelillo, who was playing in the tournament for the fourth time, said he was honored and in a bit of disbelief that he was part of such a long and prestigious list of champions.
“You never want to say never in a million years you’d win this thing,” Angelillo said, “But I’m pretty amazed right now. I’m pretty happy about the way I played.”
After posting three bogeys on the first five holes Angelillo decided to play for par as opposed to chasing birdies.
“With that mindset I didn’t get frustrated,” Angelillo said. “I played the spots where I could make putts.”
Angelillo was only four shots back of leader Bradley Rock Jr. after the first round and remained in contention after the turn in the second.
A birdie on 17 gave Angelillo the lead, but after overshooting the green on 18, a solid up-and-down was needed to avoid a playoff with eventual runner-up Doug Kleeschulte, who finished one shot back at 146.
“When people start to gather around, you know something is going on,” Angelillo said of the crowd that gathered for his final two shots of the day. “The golf club doesn’t know nerves. It’s me that knows nerves. I just went and executed, and that’s it.”
Defending champion Cameron Young, a Sleepy Hollow Country Club member, did not participate due to a shoulder injury.
Hans Albertsson, a Winged Foot Golf Club member and Sleepy Hollow resident, posted the best score among locals. The 42-year-old finished eighth with a 149.
“They roll the red carpet out for us every year,” said Albertsson, who has held the course record, 64, since 2010. “You get two rounds on one of the best golf courses in America. It’s lots of fun.”
Zach Plutzik had the best finish among Quaker Ridge members. The Rye resident finished tied for 21stwith a 155. The tournament was the start of a new era for Plutzik, 23, who recently graduated from Yale, where he played golf.
“I feel like I’m moving past my college golf game,” Plutzik said. “This is the perfect kind of event to transition to Met-area amateur golf.”
For Angelillo, the tournament is an example of how amateur golf tournaments should be run.
“In some places they don’t want you there,” Angelillo said. “This place embraces us. They treat us like gold.”