The company was good. The course was strong. The competition was tight.
It’s hard to imagine why a vast majority of the players who capture club championships routinely skip the Westchester Golf Association’s yearly Tournament of Champions. This should be a marquee event, but the field at Tamarack Country Club on Monday included a mere 24 players in the men’s division and 14 players in the women’s division.
This has the potential to be a regular Logopalooza.
“I look forward to this tournament whenever I’m lucky enough to win the club championship,” said John Ervasti, a Sleepy Hollow member who shot a 2-under 68 and captured the men’s and senior men’s championship. “Growing up in London, Ontario, we had a tournament like this and people came from all over the province to play. Westchester is a golf hotbed. This course is very nice. Why aren’t more people out here playing?”
“I wish there were more women playing,” said Laura Algiero, a Whippoorwill member who shot a 3-over 75 to capture the women’s championship. “I play in a lot of tournaments in the area. We have a lot of very talented golfers. I don’t know why they aren’t here.”
While there are usually a number of noteworthy golfers in the field each year, the overall response has been lukewarm since the WGA revived the annual Tournament of Champions in 1997. The event was only drawing 60 players total at its height, and in recent years the senior divisions were added to spark more interest.
“Many of the club champions don’t play events outside their clubs,” said longtime WGA executive director Bob Thomas. “I also believe the economy is still affecting the number of tournament entries because people can’t always take a day off work.”
This is not some outing for the huddled masses, it’s worth the aggravation.
Sleepy Hollow, Quaker Ridge, GlenArbor, Westchester and Fenway sent the best of the best this year. Centennial, Patriot Hills, Dunwoodie, Rotella and Pound Ridge did, too.
How cool is that?
Part of the fun is watching the daily fee golfers who get revved to go swing for swing with the folks who play on the other side of the fence where the grass is most definitely a deeper shade of green.
Nobody handed Ervasti and Algiero a championship yesterday, but imagine the ego trip they could’ve enjoyed in the buffet line had places like Winged Foot, Hudson National, Stanwich, Century, Old Oaks, Wykagyl, Metropolis, Purchase, Knollwood, Sunningdale and Blind Brook begged and pleaded with their champions to represent the club.
There are bragging rights on the line.
More has to be done to promote this event and the lion’s share of responsibility lies with an overworked WGA tournament staff. Word of mouth isn’t doing the job. The memos sent out each year to local golf professionals are getting lost in the shuffle.
The calendar of competitions is crowded, so everyone involved has to make a hard sales pitch.
Unless the number of entries begin to climb in the near future, the Tournament of Champions is going to become the proverbial good walk spoiled.
WGA Tournament of Champions
At Tamarack C.C.
Men’s – Par 70
1. John Ervasti (Sleepy Hollow) 68
2. Pete Zeldin (Patriot Hills) 72
3. Patrick Pierson (Minesceongo) 73
3. Lucas Konandreas (Pound Ridge) 73
4. Ned Zachar (GlenArbor) 74
5. Darrin Sloan (Rotella) 77
5. Paul Ferrigno (Otterkill) 77
5. Richard Feldman (Centennial) 77
5. Andrew Lipman (Connecticut Golf Club) 77
9. Matthew Weissman (Brae Burn) 78
9. Robert Weiss (Brynwood) 78
Women’s – Par 72
1. Laura Algiero (Whippoorwill) 75
2. Anna Ausanio (Beekman) 77
2. Kathy Mulvey (Westchester) 77
4. Emily Corrigan (Ardsley) 80
4. Grace Rivano (Otterkille) 80
6. Erica Schindel (Scarsdale) 81
7. Gale Brudner (GlenArbor) 83
8. Donna De Marco (Lake Isle) 86
8. Gayle Tallardy (Powelton Club) 86
8. Linda Nardone (Rockrimmon) 86
1. John Ervasti (Sleepy Hollow) 68
2. Lukas Konandreas (Pound Ridge) 73
2. Bill Dober (Brooklawn) 73
4. Benjamin Kirschenbaum (Old Oaks) 76
1. Charlotte Monsell (Mahopac) 74
2. Grace Rivano (Otterkill) 80