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Rob Potter | Democrat

Amid a steady rainfall, Sean Semenetz makes a birdie putt on the third hole of the Championship Flight Final on Sunday afternoon during the 29th annual Sullivan County Democrat Two-Man, Better Ball Golf Tournament at the Villa Roma Country Club in Callicoon. Watching Semenetz are Barry Winter, center, and Ken Cohen, right.

Semenetz and Winski win Democrat Golf Tourney

By Rob Potter
CALLICOON — July 27, 2010 — The 29th annual Sullivan County Democrat Two-Man, Better Ball Golf Tournament held over the weekend at the Villa Roma Country Club in Callicoon was an event that players and organizers will undoubtedly remember for many years to come.
The tourney will be remembered for the rain which delayed play twice for a total of approximately three hours during Friday’s qualifying round. A steady rain also fell for much of Sunday afternoon’s final round.
And the event will be remembered for the overwhelming response which led Tournament Sponsor Fred Stabbert III and Tournament Director Matt Kleiner to expand the field to 62 teams from the traditional 56 teams.
But most memorable is that the tournament featured perhaps the best performance ever by a team on its way to winning the title. The team of Sean Semenetz and Joe Winski birdied nine of 12 holes to defeat Ken Cohen and Barry Winter 7 and 6 in the final match of the Championship Flight.
Semenetz calmly made a 4-foot birdie putt on hole No. 1 to put him and Winski 1-up. Semenetz and Winski never looked back from that point, gradually extending their lead on the way to capturing their third Democrat title as a team. The duo also won the tournament in 2006 and 2007.
In addition to their nine birdies, Semenetz and Winski parred No. 2, No. 9 and No. 12.
Cohen and Winter, who teamed up to win the Democrat tourney in 1992, 1997, 1999 and 2005, played pretty well themselves. They birdied the fourth and fifth holes and earned par on all of the other holes.
But they had no answer for Semenetz and Winski.
“We played OK, but Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson weren’t going to beat those guys today. I’m not kidding,” Winter, a Beacon resident, said of Semenetz and Winski. “They played a phenomenal round.”
Cohen, a Jeffersonville resident who has won a total of eight Democrat tournaments, agreed with Winter.
“It was amazing, they birdied nine of the 12 holes,” Cohen said. “Sean played incredibly. He is the best player in this field. And you can’t take anything away from Joe. He played great and has really improved his game.”
Semenetz, who graduated from Drexel University in 2009 and now lives and works in Philadelphia, Pa., was happy to come back home to Sullivan County and win another Democrat tourney.
“Joe and I both played well today,” he said. “It was a great team effort.
“We knew that we had to step it up and put on our game face against great players like Ken and Barry,” Semenetz added.
Semenetz noted that “it’s always special” to win the tournament. This is the fourth Democrat championship for Semenetz, who teamed with Nick Yaun to capture the 2003 event.
“This is very exciting,” Semenetz commented. “I love playing golf with Joe. We have been best friends since pre-Kindergarten.”
Although they went on to win the tourney, Semenetz and Winski almost lost their first Championship Flight match on Saturday morning. They defeated the team of Ben Kleiner and Maxx Kleiner 1-up to move on to the quarterfinals.
“We played better with each match this weekend,” said Winski, who lives in Youngsville and is studying for his Master of Business Administration degree at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. “Today, we birdied the first hole and were able to get in a good groove and keep it going.”
Like Semenetz, Winski knew the duo would need to play an outstanding final round to win the tourney.
“They are both great players,” Winski said of Cohen and Winter. “They are a tough team to play against.”
The team of Joshua Goldstein and Mike Culclasure was seeking to win its third straight Democrat championship. But the duo was defeated by Nathan Steingart and Gilles Brodeur 1-up in Saturday afternoon’s quarterfinal round.
At Sunday night’s awards banquet, Kleiner, who is the Villa Roma Golf Professional, thanked Assistant Pro Kevin Rossi, Golf Course Superintendent Jeff Coccodrilli and his crew and the chefs and kitchen staff for all of their help in making the tournament a success.
In addition, a toast was held in memory of Fred Stabbert Jr., who was the Publisher Emeritus of the Democrat and started the Democrat Golf Tournament back in 1982. He passed away last August.
The top three teams in each flight were as follows:
Championship Flight: first place – Sean Semenetz/Joe Winski, second place – Ken Cohen/Barry Winter, third place – Joshua Goldstein/Mike Culclasure
First Flight: first place – Justin Armstrong/Walter Herzog, second place – Gregg Semenetz Sr./Bill Phillips, third place – Tyler White/Mike Kaufman
Second Flight: first place – Paul Denault/Mike Lofaro, second place – Wayne Pirnos/Doug Novogrodsky, third place – Tom Roseo/Lonnie Ackerly
Third Flight: first place – Andrew Etter/Jon Etter, second place – Bob Sipos/Tom Drobysh, third place – Robert Kuhn/Drew Suttie
Fourth Flight: first place – Tom Meyer/Joe Meyer, second place – Steve Berry/Steve Sherlock, third place – Dan Taggart/Jim Walsh
Fifth Flight: first place – Bill Elliott/Rich Elliott, second place – Marvin Newberg/Ben Newberg, third place – Mike Cardo/Doug Appel
Sixth Flight: first place – Paul Carlucci/Greg Cox, second place – Brian Starr/Pete Selthafner, third place – Ian Blumenthal/Craig Corigliano
Seventh Flight: first place – Todd Gallo/Kevin Clifford, second place – Pete Sigelakis/Dino Sigelakis, third place – Frank Barrett/Harold Russell.

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