2017 CNY Senior PGA Professional Championship

                              From left to right: Rob Phelps, Rick Bronson, & Eric Manning

With a birdie putt on the first playoff hole, Rick Bronson prevailed over Rob Phelps to win the Central New York PGA Senior Section Championship sponsored by Mid-State Club Car on July 31. The two-day event for players ages 50 and over was held at Onondaga Golf and Country Club.

Bronson (Bronson Turf Renovation) and Phelps (Bellevue Country Club) finished regulation deadlocked at 6-under-par 136 overall when both players made par on the par-4 18th hole. The pair headed back to the 18th tee to start the sudden-death playoff.

Bronson and Phelps, both former champions, were on the green in two. Bronson sank his 15-foot birdie putt from straight on, forcing Phelps to convert his birdie attempt from 12 feet away to extend the playoff. But Phelps’ putt from the right side of the cup didn’t break and rolled away to the right giving Bronson his second career Senior Section Championship crown. He also won in 2009.

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Central New York Stroke Play Championship

Supported by Scoreband and the PGA Tour

Fran Piraino  |  Freelance Writer   |   franpiraino@aol.com

En-Joie Golf Club head professional Michael Deuel had a one-shot victory over Cortland Country Club professional Eric Manning to capture the Central New York Stroke Play Championship supported by Scoreband and the PGA Tour on July 17.  The second CNY PGA major was held at Mark Twain Golf Club in Elmira.

Deuel got off to a torrid start by carding a 4-under-par 68 in the morning round. Deuel led by as many as five strokes at one point. But some steady play by Manning kept him within striking distance during the afternoon round. But Manning was unable to overtake Deuel at the end.

Manning finished at 71-70—141 while Deuel clinched the win at 68-72—140. Deuel, who leads the CNY PGA Player of the Year standings, cashed $1,500 for first place. Manning earned $1,250 as runner-up.

The tournament field featured 19 players who were playing for a total purse of $8,050. There was a lengthy delay due to inclement weather during the 36-hole championship.

Matt Jaynes (Corning CC) placed third (73-71—144), which was good enough for $1,065.  Host PGA Professional Jay Turcsik carded a 67 during his second round for low round of the day.


Clare, Petrin & Tesori Receive Northeast-10 Conference Major Awards

Le Moyne College senior John Clare, freshman Jonathan Petrin and head coach Joe Tesori swept the major men's golf awards in the Northeast-10 Conference as Clare was selected as Player of the Year, Petrin was named Rookie of the Year and Tesori earned Coach of the Year honors.

It's the second straight year Clare was named Player of the Year. Clare (72.38 scoring average) led the Dolphins to a 13th-place finish in the NCAA Division II Championship last month and tied for third individually.

The 22-year-old Clare turned pro after nationals. He is competing in the 108th Massachusetts Open this week with former Le Moyne teammate Aidan Fuller as his caddie. On Thursday, Clare set a course record at Falmouth's TGC at Sacconnesset with a third-round score of 8-under-par 64.

Petrin's scoring average of 75.15 is the best mark by a freshman since Dan McCarthy recorded a 73.94 during the 2003-04 year.

Tesori won his second Coach of the Year honor after guiding the Dolphins to a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Atlantic/East Regional en route to the NCAA Championships.

On a Mission to Get the Ball in the Hole:

Warrior Golf Program Helps Service Members

PGA Professional Ric Pettit (left) instructs Army veteran Michael Raith as part of the Warrior Golf Program at Ridge Golf Club in Chittenango. (M.F. Piraino)

By M.F. Piraino
Contributing writer

For PGA professional Ric Pettit, golf instruction is an important part of his job at the Clear Path for Veterans Golf Course. But for the last four years, Pettit's work has taken on a deeper purpose.

After listening to a military veteran talk about the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder, Pettit was inspired to establish the Warrior Golf Program, an eight-week how-to-golf tutorial for service members and veterans. The free program includes golf lessons on chipping, putting, rules and etiquette at the nine-hole, par-35 golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones, formerly known as Skyridge Golf Course, in Chittenango.

"One of the kids started telling me about his day and PTSD," Pettit said. "I just dropped everything so I could focus on him. Then I thought how can I help? I thought maybe golf could definitely help them get through things."

Pettit's Warrior Golf Program, now in its fourth season, is one of the many support programs for military members and their families provided by Clear Path for Veterans, a local non-profit organization located on 78 picturesque acres of fields and woodlands which straddles the borders of Onondaga and Madison Counties. Clear Path leases the golf course from The Ridge Tavern, which offers a panoramic view of Oswego County's Nine Mile power plant to the foothills of the Adirondacks.

In addition to golf instruction, nutrition and personal wellness at Clear Path are incorporated over the eight weeks. Since its inception, the Warrior Golf Program has graduated 36 veterans and active service members. Past graduates have been rewarded with a new set of basic golf clubs, balls, golf glove and a polo shirt.

Army veteran Michael Raith, 37, was among the first graduates of the Warrior Golf Program. Raith, who served in Afghanistan with the 10th Mountain Division, said the Pettit's program in addition to the incredible view at the Ridge has been therapeutic."I'd never golfed before but I was always stuck in my house which didn't help my depression." said Raith, a native of California. "Ric's an awesome teacher. Golf helped to get me out. It's the scenery, it's the socializing. You're out talking to people. It's calming and relaxing. It really helped me. "

Any service member is eligible. Most of Pettit's golf students are on active duty. Those interested must fill out an application through the Clear Path website to get into the program.

Pettit meets 10 to 12 men and women per eight-week program Wednesday and Saturday mornings. Six of Pettit's CNY PGA peers have helped out with golf instruction. Students can practice away from class at the Clear Path for Veterans Golf Course and golf for free.

"There's a lot of goal setting," Pettit said. "You have to be committed to getting better. My teaching isn't overly regimented. I try to have as much fun as I can with them."

"It's like being back in the military and you're on a mission to get that ball in the hole. It's fun," Raith said.

Under the direction of Pettit, who is employed by Clear Path, the Clear Path for Veterans Golf Course has begun the process of operating with an all-volunteer staff, many of whom are military veterans. The 14 volunteers, including 12 veterans, all help with course maintenance and mowing the nine fairways and greens. The Clear Path for Veterans Golf Course is open to the public. All proceeds benefit Clear Path programs.

Clear Path for Veterans, which is in its sixth year, is located on the site of the former Skyridge Country Club. The former clubhouse has been renovated and now serves as Clear Path's main building and center of operations.

Pettit knows his program has made an impact. A former student, a Vietnam veteran, wrote him a letter that made his eyes well-up.

"He talked about friendship more than anything," the 53-year-old Pettit said. "A lot of people think I'm just teaching. But for me, it's a lot more than that. I believe this is helping people. I'm not an expert in PTSD or depression. But those who suffer them get holed up in their house. They've got to get out of the house. That's key for them."


2017 Spring Meeting of the Membership

The Annual Spring Meeting of the Membership held on Monday, April 17th at Turning Stone Resort Casino drew 81 PGA Members and Apprentices. The Section welcomed current PGA of America President Paul Levy, PGA. Paul discussed the importance of committing to the Long Term Strategic Plan along with the Association's ongoing efforts in pursuit of the PGA of America's Mission: Growing the Game and Serving the PGA Member.

Suzy Whaley, PGA, Inducted into the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame

Jamesville-DeWitt product Suzy Whaley, PGA, Secretary of the PGA of America, is among the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame's Class of 2016.

Suzy and seven others will be enshrined at the 30th annual Induction Dinner, 7 p.m. Monday, October 17, at the Oncenter Ballroom.  That will bring the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame membership to 224.

Formerly Suzy McGuire, played on the Jamseville-Dewitt boys' golf team for four years, played Onondaga Country Club in her youth (and was also an accomplished skier), was tutored at Drumlins by Joe Tesori, PGA.  Husband Bill Whaley is also a PGA professional and their two daughters have gone on to play collegiately.

Suzy is the first woman officer in the history of the PGA and will ascend to the presidency in 2018.  She was the first woman since Babe Didrickson Zaharias 58 years before to qualify for a PGA Tour event (2003 Greater Hartford Open).

Also to be inducted in the Class of 2016 are Ed Brophy (boxing), Bob Campese (football/baseball), Bob Hayes (basketball), Billy McBride (football/basketball), Matt Palumb (lacrosse), Ray Seals (football) and Buddy Wleklinski (basketball).  Additionally, the 1985 Onondaga Central Boys Cross Country Team will be this year's Team of Honor.

Tickets for the dinner are $65 in advance, $75 at the door.  You can make checks payable to Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame and send to: GSSHOF c/o Bill Motto, 4830 Hyde Road, Manlius, NY 13104.


Central New York PGA Weekly Golf Articles

Central New York's #1 source for golf information


Home to a Historic Player and Leader

Pioneering PGA Secretary Suzy Whaley literally grew up in the shadow of section headquarters

Virtually every PGA Section has a famous alumnus or historic figure. In the case of the Central New York PGA Section, it is proud to be the home of Suzy Whaley, the first female PGA of America national officer and the first women in nearly six decades to qualify for and compete in a PGA Tour event. Click Here to read the full article.


Steve Nacewicz Featured in March Edition of PGA Magazine

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PGA National News

UPDATED 08/18/2017:

Click Here to read this week's article. Articles submitted by
Joe Tesori, PGA & Chuck Harty

Archived Articles

Congratulations, new
District 4 Director

Steve Aloi, PGA


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