While we talk about the 2015 New York State Golf Association’s Amateur Championship, we will be talking about the history of the organization and a very famous tournament in the past.
Trevor Sluman of Pittsford came to the par-3 15th tee at Kaluhyat Golf Club at Turning Stone (Verona) nursing a one-stroke lead in the final round of the 93rd New York State Men’s Amateur.
He had just made a disheartening bogey at No. 14. But upon his arrival at the No. 15, he looked to his left and liked what he saw. “They moved the tee forward 20 yards from the third round,” Sluman said. “I didn’t dare go for that flag with a 7-iron in the morning. But with a 9-iron, I had a perfect number.”
Sluman sent the shorter iron sailing over the wetlands fronting the green, the shot coming to rest inches from a hole cut in the back left corner. That birdie and a par-bogey-par finish gave him a 2-over-par 74 and a 72-hole total of 4-under 284, good for a two-stroke victory over Sam Bernstein of Century Country Club in Westchester County and Adam Condello of Locust Hill Country Club in Pittsford.
Scores went up in the afternoon’s final round, despite the New York State Golf Association field staff having shortened the course by several hundred yards. Three consecutive days of sustained prevailing winds near 20 miles per hour and the penal Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed layout had taken its toll on the Empire State’s premier amateurs.
“That was definitely the toughest course I’ve ever played in a 72-hole tournament,” said the 21-year-old Sluman, who graduated from the University of Louisville in May.
Sluman, who began the third round tied for second, trailing Bernstein by two, grabbed the lead with a 69 for 6-under 210 good for a one-stroke advantage over New Hartford’s Derek Bard, who shot 68 in Round Three. Sluman, Bernstein, Condello and Bard remained closely bunched for most of the way.
Now backup to 1958. In picture at the top, left to right are favorites Tommy Goodwin and Ray Billows, then young John Konsek. Konsek would go on to win in 1959 and 1960. Multiple winners Goodwin and Billows had been rivals since the 1930’s. The contest was held at the 6,450 yard Par 70 Yahnundasis Golf Club in New Hartford (the background for the picture at the top). Our interest in this contest was that our manager was the caddy for Ray Billows.
The NY State Golf Association WebSite www.nysga.org has a lot of good articles on the history of golf.