Sunday July 22, 2012

Berkshire Hill Country Club head professional Josh Hillman received some good news recently -- he'll be at the Ryder Cup, arguably the most exciting event in golf, in September.

"I'll be working for the PGA of America as a member of the leaderboard committtee." Hillman said. "I've been assigned to the 14th and 15th greens on the first day, the range on the second day and No. 16 on the last day."

Hillman has been to numerous Masters and several U.S. Opens, but nothing compares to the raucous atmosphere and match-play excitement that prevails at the biennial meeting between the United States and Europe.

"I'm excited about it," said Hillman, who got the opportunity thanks to Derek Sprague, the secetary of the PGA of America.

Sprague knows Hillman well. As the general manager and head professional at Malone Country Club in Malone, N.Y., he is a member of the same PGA section -- the Northeast New York PGA -- as Hillman, who helps run many of the section's tournaments.

The day at the range will give Hillman a chance to meet some of the world's best golfers and watch their practice routines.

"I'll be the one they come to get their brand of range balls to hit," Hillman said.

The big event is set for Sept. 28-30 at Medinah Country Club in suburban Chicago.

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Speaking of the Hills, the Berkshire Hills Singles tees off Friday and, as usual, the county's only three-day, 54-hole, medal-play singles event has attracted a strong field.


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Among those entered are 2010 champion Bob Linn, Berkshire Hills members John Dahrouge, Matt Ortega and Hayden Jarck, reigning Massachusetts Senior Player of the Year Andy Congdon, Wahconah Country Club's Paul Briggs, Greenock Country Club's Matt Keenan, Taconic Golf Club's William Hadden and Stockbridge Golf Club's father and son Jim and Matt Finnerty.

Matt, 16, shot a 67 to win Monday's Berkshire County Junior Series event at the Hills while Linn is coming off a victory recently in the Stockbridge Classic.

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Jarck will be busy this week. In addition to the singles, the recent Pittsfield High graduate, who will attempt to make the team as a walk-on at High Point University in late August, will play in Tuesday's U.S. Amateur qualifier at The Orchards in South Hadley.

Jarck had a good tutor recently in learning the nuances of the course, playing practice rounds with former Hills member Linn, who is now a member at the South Hadley course.

Jarck is also bringing former MCLA golfer Shane Ortega with him to caddie in the one-day, 36-hole qualifier.

"Having Shane will be good for me," said Jarck. "We have similar styles, so that should help."

There is no doubt that Jarck will need to be at his very best to do what then-22-year-old Wyantenuck Country member Davis Mullany did last year when he made it to the big event in a qualifier at Wahconah Country Club.

Tuesday's field is stacked with some of the region's best amateurs, including 2010 Mass. Golf Association Player of the Year Brian Higgins and 2003 Mass. Amateur champion Andy Drohen.

Two Taconic members -- Hadden and Thomas Sennett -- are also in the field. Sennett recently won the Allied Father-Son tournament with his father, Ed. Both Hadden and Sennett live in Vermont but are members at the Williamstown club.

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Wahconah Country Club head professional Jim Underdown and assistant Milton Torres Jr. will be hosting a junior camp from Aug. 6-10.

The camp is open to any junior wanting to learn the fundamentals and will be divided into two age groups -- ages 6-10 and 11-15. The younger group will receive instruction from 8-9:30 a.m. each day and the older group from 10-noon.

The cost is $90 per child for the 6-10 group and $115 for the 11-15 group.

There will be a limit of 14 students per session, so if you are interested don't wait. Call the pro shop at (413) 684-1333 or stop by the golf shop to sign-up.

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The Berkshire Hills Singles and U.S. Amateur qualifer are just two of many events on this week's local golf calendar.

n The Berkshire County Junior Series will hold its third event on Monday at Egremont Country Club.

n The Berkshire County Senior Golf Association plays its second of three tournaments, also on Monday, at Wahconah Country Club.

n The Country Club of Pittsfield hosts a member-guest event on Saturday.

n The Worthington Cup, a two-person scramble event, is set for Saturday at Worthington Golf Club.

n Williams College's annual three-day Alumni Tournament will be played at both the Waubeeka Golf Links and Taconic Golf Club, Friday-Sunday.

To contact Richard Lord:
rlord@berkshireeagle.com
or (413) 496-6236