John Montgomery, Pontoosuc Lake Country Club's ageless wonder, knows by now not to make any plans for the first Saturday after Labor Day.
That's when the Pittsfield City Championship is played, and Montgomery has qualified for the event that pits club champions from the city's four clubs in 14 of the past 15 years.
Montgomery earned club championship No. 14 with a 54-hole total of 10-over par 223 last weekend. In a matchup of youth vs. experience, Montgomery outlasted former Taconic High School star Thomas Gilardi by two shots.
The 66-year-old will face a strong challenge at the Country Club of Pittsfield on Saturday as he attempts to win the city title for a third straight year. The host course will be represented by long-hitting Matt Scarafoni, who fell victim to Montgomery at GEAA two years ago. Scarafoni won several weeks ago by 22 shots despite having played only one round of the course this year prior to the 54-hole championship.
GEAA will be represented by Darren Aitken, who won his fifth club title with rounds of 80-78 at the nine-hole course to defeat Steve St. Peter by two shots.
Montgomery, Scarafoni and Aitken have all won city championships in the past.
There will be one new face in the foursome, but he happens to be one of the best amateurs in the region. Longtime Worthington Golf Club member James Ryan captured the Berkshire Hills Country Club title last weekend.
Ryan needed two extra holes to beat MCLA Athletic Director Jeff Puleri to take win at the Hills. Ryan, with a final-round 4-over 76, finished at 7-over 223. Puleri shot a final-round 77.
"It was really nice to get the win," Ryan said. "It's a really good group of guys and they have made me feel welcome from the beginning."
Ryan has also had past success at the CC of Pittsfield, winning the club's best-ball invitational with Springfield-area partner Bill Foley.
It looks like a highly competitive foursome who will tee off together on Saturday at 9 a.m.
While Ryan was a first-time club champion at Berkshire Hills, it was a familiar story in the ladies event. Diane Breen won her 17th club title with a 10-shot victory over former Pittsfield High School softball coach Janice Barry. Breen had rounds of 79 and 83 to keep her domination alive for at least another year.
In other women's club championships last week, Betty Dagostino won at Pontoosuc Lake CC, Holly McGovern prevailed at Forest Park Country Club and Angie Linger took the title at Waubeeka Golf Links.
While veteran golfers prevailed at Pittsfield's four clubs, youth was served at Forest Park where former Hoosac Valley High School star Chad Alibozek successfully defended the title he won last year by a whopping 18 shots.
Alibozek, last year's All-Eagle MVP, shot rounds of 66-68-75 on the par-68 course to finish at 6-over 210, missing the tournament record by one shot. He won by a whopping 18 strokes over John Gelheiser. Jay Sniezek, Alibozek's high school coach, finished third.
Greenock County Club's Bob Mucha, coming of a big win at the Northeast New York PGA Senior Stroke Play Championship, continued his strong play by finishing in a tie for third in the section's Class A Championship at Wyantenuck Country Club on Monday.
Mucha fired a 1-over 71 to tie with Frank Mellett for third behind Scott Berliner (69), the section's top player so far this season, and Anders Mattson (71). Mellett, Berliner and Mattson all represent New York clubs.
Wyantenuck's Tom Sullivan finished fifth with a 72 while Cranwell Resort, Spa and Golf Club's David Strawn tied for seventh with a 74.
The Berkshire Hills team of Fred Goerlach and Ralph Dastoli carded a 20-hole scramble total of 68 to take a five-shot win at Worthington Golf Club in the first Berkshire County Senior Fall Series event. Three teams tied for second.
The second event of the series will be played Wednesday at Waubeeka Golf Links.
Bob Nackoul shot a 73 to take low gross honors in the final tournament of the Berkshire County Senior Golf Association season on Monday at Taconic Golf Club.
The low gross winners by division were Doug Reed (A Division), Bill Drury (B Division), Dick Rivers (C Division) and Jack Hickey (D Division).
To contact Richard Lord:
or (413) 496-6236.