Matt Scarafoni captured his 13th club championship at the Country Club of Pittsfield last weekend, but he was more interested in a different number.
"The real story is that this makes it 20 club championships between [brother] Todd, my father [Gary] and me," he said.
Dad took the South Street club’s title four times and Todd, who is amateur again after a career as a club professional, won three club championships.
This may have been the easiest of them all with Scarafoni, despite having played only one round on his home course this year, prevailing by 22 shots with a 54-hole total of 6-over par 219.
Scarafoni jumped out to a six-shot lead over eventual runner-up Greg Knight with an opening 4-over 75 and followed that with a 74 to widen the gap to eight shots after 36 holes. Defending champion Kelly Collins shot an uncharacteristic 88 in the opening round and was never a factor in finishing third.
Scarafoni, with a comfortable lead and having shaken off any rust his game had, saved his best for last with a 1-under 70.
"My goal the last round was to aim for the middle of the greens," Scarafoni said. "That makes for a lot of 30-footers, but it keeps you away from any disasters."
With the gap growing wider, Scarafoni’s game plan changed over the final nine holes.
"I went after some pins late," said Scarafoni, whose aggressive play was rewarded with birdies on Nos. 13,14, 17 and 18.
Scarafoni has had plenty on his plate the past few years that has limited his time on the golf course. He coached his Babe Ruth League-playing sons, Jack and Luke, for two years, and helped with transportation for a 14-year-old traveling team this summer. In addition, his company, Scarafoni Financial Group, opened offices on Madison Avenue in New York City and in Stamford, Conn.
However, it doesn’t take long for the juices of competition to start flowing again.
"I’ve had a lot of priorities the past few years between my kids and business, but I still love to play and love to compete," he said.
However, with the passing of time and changing priorities, his approach has changed some.
"I think the good part now is that I just try to go out and have fun," he said. "If I play well, it’s a bonus. I have a pretty good perspective and there’s no doubt that I react differently to bad shots, but I am still pretty competitive."
His fellow competitors from last weekend will attest to that.
Tom Czelusniak is the new club champion at Wahconah Country Club, firing a final-round 4-over 75 to finish at 16-over 229 and win by six shots over Shawn Folan.
Czelusniak opened with a 2-over 73 before struggling to an 81 in the second round. His solid final round left him six shots ahead of runner-up Shawn Folan. Folan, a former Wahconah High School golfer, is a student at Bryant College.
Wyantenuck Country Club head professional Tom Sullivan shot an even-par 72 to finish second in the Northeast New York PGA Section’s Stroke Play Championship at Albany Country Club on Monday.
Scott Berliner of Cobleskill Golf and Country Club, one of the section’s dominant players, took the title with a 71 in a tournament shortened to 18 holes because of unplayable conditions as a result of Tuesday’s stormy weather.
Sullivan’s solid play came after he was forced to withdraw from his previous tournament, the section stroke play championship, because of health issues that landed him in the hospital for three days.
"I’d like to win, but I was happy with the way I played considering I had to withdraw at Berkshire Hills, was in the hospital and haven’t been playing much," Sullivan said. "I’m really chipping and putting well. I only hit nine greens but I was getting up and down, and I holed out a wedge from 115 yards on one hole."
By finishing second the 63-year-old Sullivan qualified for the section’s match-play championship. He will be joined by two other Berkshire head professionals. Taconic Golf Club’s Josh Hillman shot a 76 to tie for 11th and earn a spot while Greenock Country Club’s Bob Mucha was exempt as the defending match-play champion. Mucha finished in a tie for 13th Monday with a 77.
Former Hoosac Valley High School star Chad Alibozek came oh-so-close to winning the NENY PGA Section’s Junior Championship tournament this week.
Alibozek, who will attend Keiser University in Port St. Lucie, Fla., this fall, shot a 6-over 77 to finish in a four-way tie for the top spot before losing in a match of cards with Zachary Scala of Ballston Spa, N.Y.
Alibozek had nines of 40-37 to tie with Scala, Devin Delisle and Ethan Sawyer. The junior series uses the U.S. Golf Association’s formula for matching cards -- best back nine score -- to determine a winner instead of holding a sudden-death playoff. Scala fired a 35 on the back to be declared the winner.
Delise, of Brushton, N.Y., won player of the year honors in the 16-17 age group while Alibozek finished 15th in the point standings.
Madison Braman, a student of eduKaytiongolf’s Kay McMahon from Loudonville, N.Y., won the 13-15 division with an 80. She also won player of the year honors in her age bracket.
To contact Richard Lord:
or (413) 496-6236.