Sullivan County Democrat
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Democrat Photo by Ted Waddell

WATCHING IT GO: Bill Phillips watches his tee shot at last Sunday’s final round of the Sullivan County Democrat’s Two-Man, Better-Ball Golf Tournament. Phillips’ partner was Delph Gustitus.

Surprises Are on the Menu

By Frank Rizzo
CALLICOON — August 18, 2000 – The buzz around the scoreboard at the Villa Roma clubhouse concerned the threatening weather — and the defending champs: would they qualify for the championship flight of the 19th annual Sullivan County Democrat Golf Tournament?
Turned out to be a cruel Friday for Ken Cohen and Barry Winter. The three-time champs shot a 77, three over the cutoff score.
“That’s golf,” said a resigned Cohen after the opening round was done. “We’ve been playing terrible golf coming in and we just played terrible [today]. The course definitely played more difficult… it was wet and the pin placement [was hard].
“Barry and I have had a great run,” Cohen added. “We’ve played together four times, been in the [championship flight] final four times, and won three times,”
Cohen then admitted, “It is a bit of a shock.”
Tournament Director and Villa Roma Pro Matt Kleiner thought the absence of Cohen (who has won six “Democrats” in all) and Winter would diminish the championship flight. He speculated that perhaps a rule change might be implemented where the defending champs could get an automatic bye into the championship flight.
Cohen saw the good in his disappointment.
“Maybe it will help the tournament, make it more open,” Cohen mused.
Two days hence, Cohen and Winter wound up winning the third flight at the 19th annual amateur tourney.
The Fallsburg team of Chris DuBois and Bill Elliott copped the championship flight on Sunday.
“For whatever reason we’ve never played together two years in a row [until now],” said Cohen, referring to his successful partnership with Winter. “This is the first time we’ve tried to defend the title.”
Surprises and Playoffs
The defending championship flight runners-up, the Jeffersonville team of Gregg Semenetz Senior and Junior, also failed to return to the elite round of 16, shooting a 75.
Sean Semenetz and Ben Morganstein, the youngest “Democrat” combo ever (14 and 16 years of age respectively) shot a 74 and were in a four-team playoff for the final two qualifying spots.
The playoff was played on the par-3 ninth hole as lightning ringed the nearby hills. This was from the storm front which wiped out the next day’s golf and made it necessary to play 36 holes on Sunday.
Lou Siegel (partnered with brother Charlie) was the first to make par, sinking an eight-foot putt.
Longtime Roscoe CS golf coach Jim Bowers Sr. (playing with “Demo-crat” veteran Charlie Johnston) also made par, putting pressure on Sean Semenetz. The youth lined up a 31¦2-foot putt, only to watch the ball go scant inches wide.
Jay Shapiro and Bob Elliott also failed to advance.
“It was the biggest putt of my life,” Siegel noted afterward. “My knees were shaking because I was sure the kid (Semenetz) was going to make his putt so I had to sink mine.”
It was the Siegels’ first time in the championship flight.

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