CALLICOON August 10, 2007 It will be a test of wills and willpower this weekend as the Annual Sullivan County Democrat Two-Man Golf Tourney tees it up for the 26th time at the Villa Roma Country Club here.
And maybe the tourney should be renamed the ‘Tournament of Champions’ as 13 former winners will be in this year’s field and dozens more who would like to add their name to the list of ‘Best Golf Team in Sullivan County.’
The tourney will begin today with two qualifying rounds one shotgun in the morning and one in the afternoon to fit all of the 112 players in.
Play will continue throughout the weekend in a match play format as the 56 two-man teams compete in seven different flights.
“It really is a tribute to the format and calibre of player that the Democrat continues to fill up every year,” Fred Stabbert III, publisher of the newspaper which sponsors the tourney, said. “We have a great mix of outstanding local golfers as well as some visiting golfers who could do very well.”
Topping the list has to be last year’s winning squad, Jeffersonville’s own Sean Semenetz and Joe Winski.
The duo have both been honing their skills on the collegiate level and come into the Democrat with a slick resume of success. Semenetz qualified for the Met Open tourney and NYS Open this summer as a perfect follow-up to his second season on the Drexel golf team. Winski has also been playing well this summer.
Perennial powerhouse Ken Cohen and partner Barry Winter should also make some noise as the duo represents the winningest team in Democrat Golf history with four titles. Cohen also has four more victories with different partners and has an uncanny knack for playing well on tournament weekend. His record of accomplishment is nothing short of amazing, dating back 23 years to when he partnered with Jim Grossinger to gain his first title.
Past Champions Galore
Another championship flight contender will be two-time winners Billy Phillips and Greg Semenetz Sr. This duo had back-to-back wins in 2001 and 2002 and their home-course knowledge really helps.
Chris DuBois, who won the Democrat in 2000 and is one of only two players to have played in all 26 Democrat tournaments, will play this year with Jay Shapiro.
The other iron man of the Democrat is Monticello attorney Marvin Newberg, who hasn’t missed a Democrat since 1982.
His long-time playing partner Sam Hillman could not make it this year so Newberg is playing with two-time champion (1989 and 2004) Charlie Johnston of Shandelee.
Woodridge brothers Bill Elliott (winner in 2000) will again play with brother Bob in what always is a formidable match-up.
Livingston Manor’s own Terry Wolcott (1989) and Bob Simpson should also qualify in the championship flight.
Tom Drobysh (1986) will team up with Forestburgh’s Bob Sipos in what should be a tough team.
All in the Family
Other teams which could do well are, coincidentally, related.
Cousins Maxx and Ben Kleiner have been runners-up the past two years and should make a run for the gold in 2007, too.
Father and son duo Pravin and John Singh of Grahamsville are always a tough out as are the Fallsburg brothers, Ira and Nathan Steingart.
Kleiner Picks … Semenetz and Winski
By Matthew Kleiner
Head Golf ProfessionalVilla Roma Country Club
Can any team beat Sean Semenetz and Joe Winski?
That’s the question I’ve been asked all week. Semenetz is by far the best player in the field and let’s not forget Winski’s five birdies in the championship match against Ben and Maxx Kleiner. Speaking of that match, the four boys played together in a practice round on Tuesday and Semenetz-Winski tossed out a 9-under 62.
Maybe that answers the big question. But anything can happen in just one 18-hole match. A lot will be determined by the seedings this year, which I think is more crucial than ever to have a low qualifying score. A low seed will be a huge advantage.
Two-time runners-up, Ben and Maxx Kleiner, will again try their best to dethrone the champs.
Ken Cohen is back, partnered up with Barry Winter and these two have seen the winners’ circle a few times four to be exact.
The father-and-son team of Pravin and John Singh are again back in the field. The Singhs were medalists in last year’s qualifying round.
In a tournament which features about six or seven teams that on any given day can beat anyone else, I believe the defending champs are better than last year.