Democrat File Photos
It’s highly likely a Semenetz will be playing in this year’s championship match. Of the past 14 finals, Sean (left), Gregg Sr. (center) or Gregg Jr. have participated in 11 of them.
32nd Annual Democrat tees off today
CALLICOON August 9, 2013 The greens are cut and rolled, the fairways are lush, the rough is thick in spots. The Villa Roma’s par 71 layout is ready for the 32nd Annual Sullivan County Democrat Golf Tourney which tees off today.
“This is the best field ever,” tournament sponsor and Democrat Publisher Fred Stabbert III said yesterday. “I have never seen so many players with a chance to win it.”
With a record 16 former Democrat champions in this year’s field, it is truly going to be a wide open affair.
The 52 teams will tee off in a double shotgun start this morning, posting qualifying scores and then being seeded in one of seven flights.
Match play competition will continue throughout the weekend, with the winners in each flight earning their plaques and prizes on Sunday afternoon.
In between will be some of the most grueling and completitive rounds of the summer as golfers love to return to “The Democrat.”
Leading the group this year has to be defending champs Ken Cohen and Drew Billard.
Cohen drew upon the youth and fearlessness of his younger playing partner to claim last year’s championship with a hard-fought win over Gregg Semenetz and Billy Phillips.
It was a tough match, but Cohen and Billard’s mistake-free golf prevailed in the end.
It wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the Semenetz-Phillips team or Sean Semenetz-Joe Winski tandem in the finals on Sunday afternoon.
In fact, the Semenetz family has been in the hunt on Sunday afternoon in 11 of the last 14 years.
“That’s a remarkable run and from what I’ve heard, everyone is playing well enough this year to get there,” Stabbert said.
Liberty’s Josh Goldstein, who has back-to-back Democrat titles in 2008 and 2009 to his credit, will be playing with his dad, Art.
And another remarkable run belongs to Chris DuBois and Marvin Newberg.
Marvin and Chris are the only two Democrat players who have never missed the tourney.
“I have an excuse [for the one I missed],” said tournament sponsor Fred Stabbert III. “I was married on August 16, 1986 and that was Democrat weekend.”
But make no excuse about it, Charlie Levine and his partner, brother Jack, actually moved a wedding date to accommodate Democrat weekend.
Some players will go to any lengths to play in the Democrat.
Other teams expected to vie for this year’s championship include:
• Fallsburg’s Nathan Steingart and Michael Kaufman
• Kort Wheeler and Rich Schmidt
• Bill and Rich Elliott
• John Meyer and Tom Roseo
• Justin and Randy Armstrong
• Ben and Maxx Kleiner
• Pat Murtagh and Don Winters
• Peter Rymer and Barry Winter, and
• Marvin Newberg and Tom Drobysh.
Chance of rain is the only sure thing
By Matt Kleiner
Villa Roma Director of Golf
The Sullivan County Democrat golf tournament has seen its share of bad weather over the years. Since moving to the Villa Roma in 1989, it seems there were 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 won by Chris DuBois and Bill Elliott. In 2011, we couldn’t finish the qualifier due to rain and eventually stopped when two teams couldn’t finish, due to darkness. As I’m writing this article, Friday is looking like possible showers but fine for Saturday and Sunday.
As far as the competition itself, defending champions Ken Cohen and Drew Billard have been practicing hard to try and repeat. Cohen has nine titles with numerous partners. Billard is playing in his final event before heading down to North Carolina for college at Methodist University. Former champions Sean Semenetz and Joe Winski will also be in the field to try and get the title back, as are Bill Phillips and Gregg Semenetz Sr.
Bill and Gregg have lost in the final match two years in a row. I’m sure they’re a little hungry to get a win. I also expect Kort Wheeler and Ricky Schmidt to be in the hunt for the title this year. Ricky says his partner is hitting it long and straight. After missing last year, I’m sure Kort is chomping at the bit to be competitive. Marvin Newberg and former winner Tom Drobysh are teaming up this year and should be very competitive. Newberg has played in every Democrat during the last 31 years.
Back in the field for the first time in a few years is 1996 champion Peter Rymer with four-time champion Barry Winter. These seasoned veterans will definitely do some damage. This year’s field has many teams that can make a run for the title. Josh Goldstein teaming up with his dad, Art; cousins Ben and Maxx Kleiner; Michael Kaufman and new pards Nate Steingart, Justin Armstrong and his pops, Randy, are ready to contend too, as are the father-and-son Bill and Rich Elliott.
This year, I really have no clue who will win. There are so many good teams. Qualifying scores will be huge this year in determining who plays who. Good luck to all! Please don’t rain!
Odds to win
32nd Annual Democrat By the
Number of rounds which will be played this weekend.
Number of players who have entered this year’s tourney, representing 52 two-man teams.
Number of Democrat Golf titles which the 16 past champions entered in this year’s field have won since 1982.
Number of times Ken Cohen has made the championship match since 1982, winning 9 of them with 5 different partners.
Number of times a Semenetz family member Gregg Sr., Gregg Jr. or Sean has made the championship match since 1999.
Most second place finishes by one team, Jack Jordan and David Solomon, 1989, 1993, 1996, 2001 and 2002
Number of courses at which the Democrat has been competed the Villa Roma Country Club, Grossinger’s Big G and Tennanah Lake Golf and Tennis Club.
Number of holes in one which have been recorded in 31 years of play, by Robert Friedman at Grossinger’s Country Club.