By Frank Rizzo
KIAMESHA LAKE August 21, 2001 It was a modest but satisfying start to what Sullivan County golfers hope will be an annual showcase for the best amateur players in stroke play competition.
The Sullivan County Mens Amateur Championship was played Saturday and Sunday at Grossingers Big G and the Concord Monster.
And when it was over, Smallwoods Ken Cohen enhanced his reputation as perhaps the best among his non-professional peers with an easy seven-stroke win in a field of 16.
Cohen shot a 3-over 74 at Grossingers on Saturday and came back with a 5-over 77 at the Monster Sunday for a 151.
Dave Solomon of Woodbourne shot a 79-79158 to cop second place.
Monticello attorney Marvin Newberg took the lead in organizing the tourney. Newberg won the last stroke play amateur tournament in the county, the Sullivan County Amateur in Honor of Jack Coughlin at the Sullivan County Golf and Country Club in Liberty. That was three years ago and since then gross stroke play amateur tourneys have disappeared.
I thought it was an excellent tournament, Newberg reflected on Monday morning. We had good weather, on great courses [which provided] a good test. Ken Cohen ran away with it but other than that everyone was happy. Who can complain, playing Grossingers and the Monster for that price?
Newberg praised PGA Pro Todd Barker, who runs both courses, for providing a low budget, excellent entry fee.
It cost $75 to enter the tourney. Normal in-season, 18-hole weekend rates are $95 (Monster) and $82 (Grossingers).
You cant do any better than these courses, agreed Cohen. I dont think any other county in the state can do it. Weve been talking about doing this kind of tournament for year. Hopefully it will continue. The way Todd set it up, you cant beat it.
Cohen, at the suggestion of his colleagues and Villa Roma Pro Matt Kleiner, changed his grip this summer.
Its always hard to make a grip change, especially after 20 years, Cohen noted. Its a big thing and takes time, but Im committed to it.
Cohen said he made just one birdie in the 36 holes. He chipped in for an eagle at Grossingers fourth hole.
I changed putters after yesterdays round, but it didnt make a difference, Cohen said. If I putted well I think I could have shot even par. I wasnt happy with the putting, but I hit as well as I have in a long time.
This was Cohens first competitive tournament this summer in Sullivan County. Hes normally a fixture at the Sullivan County Democrat Tournament, which he has won six times, but missed it earlier this month.
This is great. I was looking forward to this one, Cohen said. This is rewarding.
Newberg said that the tourney will get bigger and better. We might expand it it, get another division maybe a senior division.
Newberg noted that several talented amateurs were out of town and unable to enter, but even so, he felt confident that the best amateur players in the county were competing.