NORMANSIDE C.C. (Sept. 11, 2008) -- Chuck Connolly of Hiland Golf Club surged to a scintillating 68 to claim his second NYSGA Senior title on a perfect sunny day at Normanside Country Club.
Connolly, who teed off in the morning wave and started on the 10th tee, turned in 34 after birdies on the 14th and short 17th to go with a solitary bogey on the difficult par-3 13th.
On his back nine, the front nine for the course, the Queensbury native was a model of consistency. He birdied the 350-yard par-4 1st before closing with eight straight pars for another 34 to finish at two-under par for the round.
“After I birdied one and got to two-under, I thought to myself if I can stay here and shoot 68, then I have a shot,” Connolly said. “I managed to par-in after my birdie on one. I had a couple of good chances for birdie coming in but wasn’t able to make any of them,”
Connolly had struggled somewhat with a sore back during the 36-hole event and said that it was something that he had to deal with and overcome if he wanted to win.
“I could swing the club OK,” Connolly said. “It hurt more when I was walking and bending over, that’s when I feel it the most. It has been bothering me for 10 days of so, but it didn’t get any worse so I was able to get through the round.”
His aggregate of 2-over-par 142 took the clubhouse lead early, with the last group in the afternoon wave not scheduled to finish for at least another five hours.
The afternoon wave included first round co-leaders, Randy Young and super-senior Mickey Gallagher.
Gallagher, who held a commanding lead in last year’s championship, turned in two-over-par 37 to fall to +4 for the championship. He was able to rally early on the back nine with birdies at 10 and 12 to get back to +2 for the championship, and draw level with Connolly.
However, unaware of Connolly’s 68 which was posted after he teed off, Gallagher bogeyed two of his last four holes to finish at 144 and second in the overall competition for the third time in his career.
“I three-putted on 15 and then I didn’t get it up and down on 17 after I missed the green,” Gallagher said. “I played pretty well though. I had a lot of pars and kept it in play.”
His 144 was good enough to clinch the super-senior title for the second straight year, however.
“You always want the big one, but I’m happy to have won the super-senior title again. As long as I play well and I’m competitive, that’s all I can ask for,” Gallagher said.
Gallagher said he will be back at Stafford Country Club next year to give the overall title another shot.
Wednesday co-medallist Young was not able to capture the form he had in the opening round and slipped to a second-round 81 to follow up his 72.
The final member of the trio who held the overall lead after the first round was Richard Hannington. Hannington, who is also a super-senior, started on the 10th and struggled to get anything going on his opening nine, recording four bogeys and a double bogey for a six-over-par 41.
He rallied on his back nine however, birdying the eighth on his way to a homeward 35 for a 6-over-par 76 to go with his opening 72 Wednesday.
Hannington was one of the early finishers in the morning wave, and held the clubhouse lead for the super-senior division until Gallagher robbed him of the title with his 144 some four and a half hours later.
Unfortunately Hannington was unavailable for comment after leaving early to honor a business commitment in New York City.
“This victory feels even more special than the first,” Connolly said. “When I won in 2000 it was really the first time I had played in anything outside of my area and I didn’t really appreciate it as much as I should have. Now that I have been trying to win it again and I finally have, it’s a pretty cool feeling.”
Connolly said he only has a couple of local competitive events left to play in 2008 but will be back playing with his buddies at Hiland tomorrow morning.
Complete standings in both the senior and super-senior championships can be accessed on the scoreboards on the homepage.
The NYSGA wraps up the 2008 season with the Mid-Am Championship at Elmira Country Club on September 26-28.
View results for New York Senior Amateur Golf Championship