PREVIEW: 96th NYS Men's Amateur Championship at Irondequoit

August 05, 2018

JAMESVILLE, N.Y. – The upcoming 96th New York State Men’s Amateur Championship at Irondequoit Country Club will challenge the best male amateur golfers around the state throughout 72 holes of stroke play over three days from August 7 – 9, 2018. This is the first time the event will be hosted by Irondequoit in the championship’s long history. 

Related: Pairings / Scoring / Photo Galleries / Past Results 

The championship begins on Tuesday with 18 holes of stroke play and the 134-player field will be divided into morning and afternoon waves. Wednesday, the field will play a second set of 18 holes to decide who survives the cut - set at low 40 players and ties, and anyone within 10 strokes of the lead. On Championship Thursday, the remaining competitors will play a final 36 holes to decide the next state champion. If a tie exists after 72 holes, a sudden-death playoff will determine the winner.

Championship Quick Facts 

Par & Yardage:































































IN: 3,258 yards / OUT: 3,572 yards

Total: 6,830 yards, Par 36-36-72 (73.5/145)

Defending Champion: Adam Condello (Locust Hill Country Club) – finished at 3-under 281 (69-68-72-72) to win by a stroke over runner-up Will Thomson (Oak Hill Country Club) at Bethpage State Park’s Black Course.

Format: 72 holes of stroke play, played over three days with a 36-hole cut to low 40 and ties, and anyone within 10 strokes of the leader.  

Eligibility: Entries are open to male amateur golfers who are either (1) residents of New York State or (2) members of an NYSGA Member Club, and have an active Handicap Index of 7.4 or lower.  

Schedule of Events

Monday, August 6
8:30am – 4:00pm // Player Registration
9:00am – 4:00pm // Practice Rounds

Tuesday, August 7
7:30am – 9:30am // Round 1 (morning wave) from tees #1 and #10
11:00am – 3:00pm // Complimentary lunch for contestants
11:00am – 2:00pm // Senior PGA Trophy Photo Opportunities
12:30pm – 2:30pm // Round 1 (afternoon wave) from tees #1 and #10  

Wednesday, August 8
7:30am – 9:30am // Round 2 (morning wave) from tees #1 and #10
11:00am – 3:00pm // Complimentary lunch for contestants
12:30pm – 2:30pm // Round 2 (afternoon wave) from tees #1 and #10
Cut after 36 holes to low 40 players and ties, and anyone within 10 strokes of the lead  

Thursday, August 9
7:30am – 9:30am // Round 3 from tees #1 and #10
11:00am – 3:00pm // Complimentary lunch for contestants
12:30pm – 2:30pm // Round 4 from tees #1 and #10

The Field

Past Champions

Adam Condello, 35, of Locust Hill Country Club, took the title home last year at Bethpage State Park’s Black Course with a 3-under 281 and won by a stroke over Will Thomson of Oak Hill Country Club. He was co-runner-up in 2015 at Kaluhyat Golf Club. In the NYS Mid-Amateur, he was runner-up in 2015 and 2016.

Doug Kleeschulte, 28, of Wiltwyck Golf Club, was crowned champion in 2010 at Albany Country Club with a one stroke victory over the field. He has appeared in a string of USGA championships over the years and most recently competed in the 2015 U.S. Four-Ball and U.S. Amateur.

Jeff Wolniewicz, 32, of Crag Burn Golf Club, took the title home in 2008 at Pinehaven Country Club, 5&4 over Rochester’s Tom Muto Jr. when it still included a match play bracket. He won last year’s N.Y.S. Men’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship at Leatherstocking Golf Club with his partner Jonathan Clark, and earned the same title the year prior with a different teammate, now-professional Billy Gaffney.

James Scorse, 53, of Stafford Country Club, is the oldest past champion in the field. Scorse’s name was inscribed on the Ganson Depew Cup in 2005 when it was held at Brookwoods Country Club, closing out runner-up John Kircher, 1-up. Scorse, now in his 50’s, has continually been successful at the state level with two NYS Men’s Amateur Four-Ball Championships in 2011 and 2012 at Ravenwood Golf Club, as well as a couple of NYS Men’s Mid-Amateur titles, first in 2013 at Onondaga Golf and Country Club and again in 2016 at his home club, Stafford.


NYS Champions from other tournaments 

Alec Bard, 20, of Cedar Lake Club, won consecutive NYS Boys’ Sub-Junior Amateur Championships at McGregor Links Country Club and Mark Twain Golf Club in 2011 and 2012, respectively. A rising junior at Penn State, he appeared in the 2017 NCAA Division 1 Golf Championships last spring. Last year at Bethpage Black, he finished in sixth place.

Christian Chapman, 19, of Ravenwood Golf Club, was the 2016 NYS Junior Amateur Champion, claiming the title at Colgate University’s Seven Oaks Golf Club. He won the championship after dropping an enthralling 25-footer for birdie on the par-5 eighteenth hole to win by a stroke. Earlier this summer, he won the 91st Country Club of Rochester Invitational 1 up over Matthew Leeman of Georgia.

Billy Hanes, 32, of Crag Burn Golf Club, won the 2018 NYS Men’s Amateur Four-Ball at Leatherstocking with his younger brother David, finishing at 11-under 133 to win by two. Hanes also claimed a NYS Boys’ Sub-Junior title in 2000 at Wellsville Country Club.

David Hanes, 20, of Crag Burn Golf Club, collaborated with his older brother Billy for this year’s Men’s Four-Ball title. He’s also won both the 2018 Buffalo District Golf Association Match Play Championship and the Erie County Amateur. In 2016, he claimed the prestigious International Junior Master Tournament title at East Aurora Country Club and was the stroke play medalist. He is a rising junior at Canisius College and a member of the men’s golf team.

Patrick Keegan, 34, of Locust Hill Country Club, is the defending NYS Men’s Mid-Amateur Champion. Last year, he secured the title for men ages 25 and older at Yahnundasis Golf Club with a 6-under 207, winning by six strokes. 

John Kircher, 59, of Monroe Golf Club, won the 2014 NYS Men’s Amateur Four-Ball with partner Michael Mercier at Leatherstocking Golf Club. He recently finished T-3 in the 2018 Rochester District Golf Association Men’s Championship at his home club. Last year, he collaborated with Mike Jaros to win the John R. Williams Four-Ball Invitational Senior Championship. He’s also a past Men’s Am runner-up. 

Anthony Maglisco, 14, of Bellevue Country Club, won the 2018 NYS Boys’ Sub-Junior Amateur earlier this month by six strokes at Seven Oaks Golf Club. Earlier this summer, he won the 2018 Syracuse District Golf Association’s Junior Classic Boys’ Sub-Junior Championship.

David May, 31, of Owasco Country Club, is one of only three players to have won consecutive NYS Boys’ Junior Amateur Championships, when he accomplished the feat in 2002 at Glens Falls Country Club and 2003 at Tuscarora Golf Club. May played his college golf at Clemson and was the 2009 ACC individual co-champion. After college, the Auburn-native tried out the pro circuit for a few years before regaining his amateur status in March 2014. In 2016, he advanced to the U.S. Mid-Amateur quarterfinals before losing to former champion Scott Harvey in match play, 4&3. In last year’s championship, he finished top-15.

Jamie Miller, 33, of Wanakah Country Club, landed the 2014 NYS Men’s Mid-Amateur title at Teugega Country Club by two strokes. In 2015, he paired up with Billy Hanes to win the NYS Men’s Amateur Four-Ball at Leatherstocking Golf Club. This spring, he competed in the U.S. Four-Ball at Jupiter Hills with another past state champion, Jim Smith of Crag Burn. Most recently, he won the C.B. MacDonald Annual Invitational at National Golf Links of America in June.

Ben Reichert, 20, of River Oaks Golf Club, won the 2015 NYS Boys’ Junior Amateur title when it was held at Cedar Lake Club. He recently finished top-10 at the 2018 Porter Cup at Niagara Falls Country Club. In March, he captured the Florida Azalea Amateur Title at Paltaka Golf Club, and finished third at the Florida Amateur Championship at The Concession Golf Club in June. He also qualified for the 2018 U.S. Amateur later this month at Pebble Beach Golf Links. Currently, he’s enrolled at Ole Miss and is entering his junior season on the men’s golf team. In his last two NYS Men’s Am appearances, he’s finished top 10 (2015, 2016). On the WAGR, he’s ranked 917.

Will Thomson, 17, of Oak Hill Country Club, claimed back-to-back NYS Boys’ Sub-Junior Amateur titles in 2013 at Skaneateles Country Club and 2014 at Ridgemont Country Club. He was last year’s runner-up and finished one stroke shy of Condello, after finishing bogey-bogey in his first Men’s Am appearance. He recently competed in the 2018 Porter Cup at Niagara Falls Country Club where he finished inside the top 15. He also competed in the Western Junior Championship where he placed in third. The Pittsford player gained national attention after becoming the youngest player in history to qualify for the U.S. Amateur after doing so in 2014, at age 13, at Rochester’s Country Club of Mendon. Last year, he committed to college golf at the University of Texas, where he’ll attend in 2019. Thomson is currently ranked 769 on the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR).


Others to Watch

Gray Barnes, 22, of Centennial Golf Club, was the first-round leader at last year’s championship after carding a fiery 5-under 66 and was on pace to break the course record (64) down the stretch. In July, he earned medalist at a U.S. Amateur qualifier at Redding Country Club in Connecticut, and will head to Pebble Beach to compete in the championship later this month. Earlier this summer, he advanced to the final match of the Westchester Amateur, but eventually lost to Christian Cavaliere in the 36-hole match play final to finish runner-up. Barnes plays college golf for the University of Tampa Spartans. 

Nick Barney, 20, of Links at Hiawatha Landing, won the last two consecutive Triple Cities Golf Association Amateur Championships. This year, he won on a playoff with a chip-in eagle on the fourth hole at En-Joie Golf Club.

Chris Blyth, 25, of Mendon Golf Club, recently captured the Rochester District Golf Association’s Men’s Amateur Championship at his former home course, Monroe Golf Club. He was able to come back in the final two rounds to win by a stroke over Kyle Downey of Locust Hill Country Club at 2-over 282.

Nick Dilio, 24, of the Links at Union Vale, earned an exemption after finishing in 11th at last year’s Men’s Amateur at 295 (+11). He’s won the Dutchess County Amateur the last three consecutive years (2015-17) and is the current head golf coach at his alma mater, St. Peter’s University in New Jersey. 

Daniel Gianniny, 19,of Country Club of Rochester, paved his way to victory at last year’s International Junior Masters Tournament at East Aurora Country Club in dramatic fashion. He finished the match play final match with two consecutive chip-ins, one for eagle and the second for birdie to win 2-up over Billy Watson of Australia. In his freshman season at St. Bonaventure playing on the men’s golf team, he tied the program record by being named Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week four times. 

Daniel Griffiths, 20, of NYSGA eClub – Southern Tier, finished T-12 at last year’s championship and earned an exemption into this year’s championship. He’s entering his sophomore season on the men’s golf team at Florida Gulf Coast University. 

Lancelot Hope, 43, of Schenectady Muni Golf Course, won the 2018 Troy Invitational. The capital-area player lost in playoffs the two prior years and finally broke through winning by two strokes over the field. He has steadily risen among the capital area ranks over the past decade and now is regarded as one of the area’s top players.

Alexander Kang, 29, of Harbor Links Golf Course, won the 70th Metropolitan Golf Association Public Links Championship title at Ballyowen Golf Club on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff.

Justin Lane, 19, of Woodstock Golf Club, captured his third consecutive Ulster County Men’s Amateur golf championship this summer. Last year, he won the 2017 NYS Federation Title at Bethpage Black. The Mid-Hudson player will be entering his sophomore year as a member of the Binghamton University men’s golf team.

Mike Mento, 23, of Lake Shore Yacht & Country Club, won the 2018 Apogee Investment Management Championship presented by The Post-Standard, a stroke play championship conducted by the PGA CNY section. He finished at 285 over the four rounds, nine strokes ahead of the field.

Ethan Ng, 18,of Fiddler’s Elbow, finished alone in fourth in last year’s championship at 287 (+3). He won the Metropolitan Golf Association’s 2016 and 2017 Carter Cups at Long Island’s acclaimed Winged Foot and historic Baltusrol Golf Club respectively. In the 2016 Metropolitan Amateur, he advanced through the match play bracket to the final, where he fell to 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion, Stewart Hagestead in 38 holes. He’s ranked 765 on the WAGR. He will head out west to Stanford University this upcoming fall to join the men’s golf team.

Jeremy Sisson, 19, of Skaneateles Country Club, recently qualified for the 2018 U.S. Junior Amateur at Baltusrol Golf Club and advanced into the match play side of the championship. He was also the 2017 NYS Boys’ Junior runner-up, where he lost to Jude Cummings in a 4-hole playoff at Seven Oaks Golf Club.

Kevin Vandenberg of Tuscarora Golf Club, has built up a lengthy amateur golf resume over the years. At age 52, he’s yet to capture a New York State title but has won a slew of Syracuse District events over the past few years. In 2016, he won the CNY PGA’s Central New York Open and qualified for the U.S. Senior Open as well as the US Four-Ball with partner and NYSGA Executive Director Bill Moore. Prior to moving to New York, he was a resident of Michigan where he claimed a Golf Association of Michigan Championship title, a Michigan Amateur title as well as Mid-Amateur title in the early 2000’s.

Nic Whittaker, 18, was in a tie for first at the recent NYS Boys’ Junior Amateur at Seven Oaks Golf Club and lost to eventual champion, Luke Sample, in a one-hole playoff. Whittaker of Country Club of Ithaca, earned an exemption into this year’s Men’s Amateur because of his runner-up finish and will make his first appearance.

Adam Xiao, 17, captured the 2018 NYSPHSAA Boys’ Golf Championship at Robert Trent Jones Golf Course at Cornell University by two strokes. This will be his first Men’s Amateur appearance.


Irondequoit Country Club

In the early 1900’s, the newly imported game of golf was all the rage with courses being laid out with some frequency. In 1916, the club’s twelve founding fathers formed Irondequoit Country Club and began to look for a site for their club.  At this time, land on East Avenue became available and was purchased. The distinguished Scottish golf course architect, Donald Ross designed the nine-hole course on the hilly East Avenue terrain.  With horses and men, Ross fashioned a tract of 3,100 yards containing three par-threes, three par-fours and three par-fives.  Ross had intended the course to be played twice totaling 6,200 yards, and although relatively short in distance, Ross compensated for this by creating a challenging lay-out over the hilly terrain, which produced many side-hill, down-hill, and up-hill lies, all commanding a golfer's best shot.

In 1952 a second nine holes was added when land was purchased from neighboring Oak Hill Country Club. The newly purchased property incorporated a meandering creek that would come into play on several holes. While hills were not present on the back nine, and it contained only one par three and one par five, it was made difficult by its tree-lined fairways, long and demanding par fours, the meandering creek, and undulating greens.

The original clubhouse designed by Herbert Stern, one of Rochester’s leading architects was destroyed by fire in 1929. The building was replaced with an art deco structure which was remodeled in 1950 to accommodate a growing membership and again renovated in 1980. In May of 2009 an extensive remodeling renovation of the existing interior spaces and the exterior of the clubhouse was completed. In addition to the clubhouse renovations, a plaza was created to provide a dramatic entrance to the pool, snack bar and seating area overlooking our facilities. The exterior of the club received a facelift with new stucco finish and rooflines reminiscent of the prominent villa style mansions along East Avenue. 

This will be the first time the club will host the NYS Men’s Amateur, and the second NYSGA championship in history. The club hosted the 1972 NYS Girls’ Junior Amateur championship, which was won by Cathy Morse of Rochester.


Brief History of the Championship

The New York State Golf Association’s first responsibility, upon its formation in 1923, was to conduct the N.Y.S. Men’s Amateur Championship. Previously it had been noted by Grantland Rice that New York was the only state at the time without a state golf association, and thus no governing body to administer the state’s amateur golf championship. 

Sherrill Sherman of Utica was voted the first president of the NYSGA at the association’s first meeting at the Yahnundasis Golf Club. He quickly approved Garden City Golf Club’s request to host the inaugural playing of the N.Y.S. Men’s Amateur Championship. In the finals at Garden City, Edmund Driggs of Cherry Valley Country Club defeated S. Clifton Mabon of Garden City Golf Club 8&7 in a 36 hole match to become the first champion.

Since its first playing, the championship’s format has changed three times. From 1923 until 1969, the championship was decided by match play. In 1970, the decision was made to go to 72 holes of stroke play until it was switched back to match play in 1992. In 2009, the format was once again changed to 72 holes of stroke play, as it remains today.

The number of participants who have attempted to qualify has increased immensely as golf’s popularity has grown. In 1923, 61 entries were fielded at Garden City as compared to 1992, when a record of 726 golfers registered to qualify to compete in the championship at Drumlins Country Club.

Throughout the years, the NYSGA has been fortunate to witness the transformation of many amateur golfers from great players into champions. Included below you will find a brief description of some of these golfers whose wins in this championship have propelled them onto fruitful careers in the game of golf.

In 1935, a young Ray Billows of Poughkeepsie won in his debut at Winged Foot Golf Club’s West Course. Billows was a true ‘rags to riches’ Cinderella story in golf. At the time, he was 21 and worked as a printing clerk making $17 a week. He arrived at Winged Foot in a $7 car, slept on the clubhouse porch to save money for a caddie, and ended up winning over one of the greatest fields in state golf history. Billows went on to have a terrific amateur golfing career, winning a record seven N.Y.S. Men’s Amateur Championship titles, getting to the U.S. Amateur Championship finals three times, and representing the U.S. in the Walker Cup matches at St. Andrews in 1938 and at Winged Foot in 1949.

Another past champion who would make a name for himself in the amateur circuit was Rochester’s Don Allen. The former Colgate University golf captain defeated the defending champion John Konsek in 1961 at Onondaga Golf and Country Club to claim the first of his six titles. This first win was very meaningful to Allen, since he considered Konsek to be the most talented golfer he had ever seen. Allen would go on to represent the United States in two Walker Cup Matches, the first at Baltimore Country Club in 1965 and the second at Royal St. George’s Golf Club in 1967.

Many past champions would play as amateurs for the entirety of their careers, although a select few would turn to the professional ranks and find success. Sam Urzetta, another successful Rochester golfer, won the 1948 championship at Buffalo’s Brookfield Country Club. Urzetta would win the U.S. Amateur Championship title in 1950, where he defeated renowned amateur Frank Stranahan in 39 holes at the Minneapolis Golf Club. Urzetta became an assistant golf professional in 1954 and in 1956 joined CCR as their head golf professional, where he would remain for the next 37 years.

In 1978, a young golfer named Jeff Sluman won the State Amateur by four strokes over Radford Yaun at Jamestown’s Moon Brook Country Club. Sluman turned professional in 1980 upon graduating from Florida State University, but wouldn’t find immediate success on the PGA Tour. At the age of 30 he won his first tournament, the 1988 PGA Championship at Oak Tree Golf Club in Edmond, Oklahoma. Sluman went on to win five PGA Tour events from 1991-2001, and is now enjoying a successful career on the PGA’s Champions Tour where he has won six times.

Another prominent PGA Tour player, Joey Sindelar, would etch his name on the Ganson Depew Cup in 1980 with a record-breaking performance at Vestal Hills Country Club in Binghamton. Sindelar, a collegiate All-American at Ohio State University, fired a four-round total of 280 (8-under) to beat Jeff Sluman by seven strokes. This record four round total would stand until Dominic Bozzelli shot a blistering 277 (11-under) to claim his second title in 2012 at Elmira Country Club. Sindelar turned pro in 1980 and won the first of his seven PGA Tour events at the Greater Greensboro Open in 1985.