Sullivan County Democrat
Callicoon, New York
April 10, 2012 Issue
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Fred Stabbert III | Democrat

Villa Roma PGA Golf Professional Matt Kleiner, left, and Villa Roma Golf Course Superintendent Jeff Coccodrilli go over Friday’s pin placements for the 30th annual Sullivan County Democrat Two-Man Better Ball Golf Tournament, which begins today.

2011 Democrat Golf Tournament tees off today

By Matt Kleiner, Villa Roma Golf Pro
CALLICOON — The Sullivan County Democrat Golf Tournament has seen its share of bad weather over the last 29 years. Since moving to the Villa Roma in 1989, it seems that there are some delays almost every year.
In 2000, after the qualifier on that Friday, it rained so much that Saturday’s two rounds were cancelled. On Sunday, we actually switched the format to a 36-hole stroke play tourney won by Chris DuBois and Bill Elliott. Last year, we couldn’t finish the qualifier due to rain and eventually stopped playing when two teams couldn’t finish due to darkness.
As I’m writing this article, Friday is looking good with possible showers on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. The committee has already made the decision to start at 7 a.m. on Saturday with straight tee times – just in case.
We are happy to report that we have a full field of 56 two-man teams – 112 players – who will compete in the three-day tourney to earn the title of “Democrat champion.”
As far as the competition itself, defending champions Sean Semenetz and Joe Winski will be looking to win their fourth title as partners. Semenetz also won with Nick Yaun. Yaun is now the Golf Professional at Brae Burn Country Club in Westchester. Semenetz is also chasing the eight titles Ken Cohen has with his partners.
Cohen will be returning once again with former partner Charlie Johnston, with whom he won in 2004. Johnston also has a title with Terry Wolcott in 1989.
I really believe that there are many talented teams this year, but unless Semenetz and Winski meet Cohen and Johnston in an earlier match, that should be the finals.
Kort Wheeler and Ricky Schmidt would be my other choice to reach the final.
Two teams that won’t be competing this year are two-time champs Josh Goldstein and Mike Culclasure and Ben and Maxx Kleiner.
Goldstein has stayed in North Carolina, where he is going to Elon University, and Ben Kleiner is in London on business with a new job after graduating from NYU in May.
Maxx Kleiner will be playing with his dad, Ted, in one of many father and son teams.
The field is all set for a Friday 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. shotgun qualifier.
All we need now is three days with no rain.
Good luck to all.

Odds on winning

3-1 – Semenetz/Winski - Sean still the best player in the field on this golf course. Would be a shocker if not in the finals. Could be a fourth title for this team.

6-1 – Cohen/Johnston - 14-time club champ at the Villa will need partner Johnston to make his usual no-brainer birdies when needed for this team to beat the defending champs.

6-1 – Schmidt/Wheeler - This team has shown that it certainly can compete with anyone, but not quite sure it has enough to beat the favorites.

10-1 – Semenetz Jr./Meyer - Might be surprised I’m giving this team some chance, but they can ham and egg their way into a final four match.

12-1 – Phillips/Semenetz - Former champs will qualify for a top-five seed and could definitely make it to a final, but they better not get a bad draw. Older team doesn’t need stressful matches throughout.

Expect Rich and Bill Elliott, Kaufman and White, Sonnenschein and White also to compete in that championship flight. They are all good, capable teams of knocking anyone off.
My picks will be pretty easy. If Semenetz and Winski don’t win, it would be an upset. Really believe they are the best team by a few shots or holes as it will be. I’m going to give the other pick in the final to the elder team of Phillips and Semenetz. Just got a feeling. Cohen and Johnston will be a tough out, but not sure they can get a high enough seed to get through it all. Sleeper pick is Meyer and Semenetz Jr.

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