Red Hook grad Jesse Steel captures Wiltwyck/YMCA Pro-Am title (video)
KINGSTON, N.Y. — The Wiltwyck Golf Club greens reached 14 on the Stimpmeter, so it took the nerves of Jesse Steel to win Monday’s 35th renewal of the Wiltwyck/YMCA Pro-Am with one-over-par 73.
Red Hook High graduate Steel tied the highest winning score established by Jerry Yochum in 1992 and claimed the top prize of $3,000.
In the team two best ball of four competition, former tournament winner Bob Mucha of Greenock (Lee, Ma.) combined with amateur partners Ronald Myers, Mike Skyne and Doug Kleeschulte Sr. for first at 19-under 125. Mucha, who also tied for sixth in the pro event, earned $400, while the amateurs received $400 gift certificates.
Most of the talk centered around the slick putting surfaces, especially how it impacted tough hole locations on Nos. 7 and 14.
The 25-year-old Steel liked the challenge.
“A flat putt here was a 14, but downhill putts were running 16 or more,” he said. “For an old private course designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., it was really fun to see greens like this.”
Runner-up Bill Van Orman of Meadow Brook, the 2010 champion, also gave thumbs up after shooting a 74 than included an eagle on the par-5 17th.
“The old Wiltwyck is back,” Van Orman said.
Four-time winner James Becker of Tower Ridge (Simsbury, Conn.) tied for third at 75 with Marc Levesque (Columbia) and Anders Mattson (Saratoga National). Continued...
Rounding out the prize list in a tie for sixth at 76 were 2007 titlist John DeForest (Rondout), Tom Oppedisano (McGregor Links) and Mucha.
Steel began on the 10th hole in the shotgun start and made bogey. With birdies at Nos. 13, 16, 1 and 6, he stood one-under with three holes left.
Bogeys on 7 and 9 opened the door for Van Orman, who missed a chance to tie with a bogey on his final hole (No. 12).
“I can’t believe I won,” an elated Steel said. “I three-putted seven for bogey.
“On the ninth, I putted up to five feet, and the ball went down to 20 feet for my par putt.”
Three of his birdies came on putts of 10 feet or less. On the par-3 16th, his 7-iron stopped 17 feet from the hole in the front fringe.
“I had to use a gap wedge rather than putt because there was something in the fringe I didn’t want to putt through,” Steel recalled.
In July, Steel finished tied for 34th to earn $900 in the New York State Open on the Black Course at Bethpage State Park.
“The wind was 30 miles per hour in the first round, and I shot 78,” he said. “I came back with 72 and 71 in the next two rounds.”
Born in Manhattan, Steel moved to Milan with his family and played on the Red Hook golf team. Continued...
“I never really played well in high school,” he said. “My best scores were only 38 or 39.
“I went to Phoenix when I was 18 to attend the Golf Academy of America. I got my associates degree in golf management, and that’s when my game really improved.”
Steel plans to hit the road for Myrtle Beach, S.C. in the near future.
“I’m going to try the Hooters Tour and a couple of other tours,” he said. “Winning this money will help a lot.”
Jesse Steel, $3,000 36-37—73
Bill Van Orman, 1,500 37-37—74
Marc Levesque, 788.33 36-39—75
James Becker, 788.33 39-36—75
Anders Mattson, 788.33 39-36—75 Continued...
John DeForest, 350 39-37—76
Bob Mucha, 350 40-36—76
Tom Oppedisano, 350 38-38—76
Bryan Lamberti 40-37—77
Mike Caporale 39-38—77
Paul Jaycox 40-38—78
Rick Leal 43-35—78
Andrew DeForest 39-40—79
Scott Williams 39-40—79
Frank Mellet 39-41—80
John Durcan Sr. 42-40—82
Peter Serafimoff 41-41—82
Jim Doyle 39-44—83
Kevin Van Ort 41-42—83
Peter Maassmann 47-36—83
Bill Reynolds 43-42—85
Steve Simeon 46-40—86
Jeff Massa 46-40—86
Chad Maes 47-40—87
Harvey Bostic Jr. 51-38—89
Trevor Jaycox NC
Team prize list: Bob Mucha-Mike Skyne-Ronald Myers-Doug Kleeschulte Sr. 125, $400 (amateurs receive gift certificates); 2. John Durcan Sr.-John Durcan Jr.-Mike Gragg-Gary Boice 127, $300; 3. Scott Williams-Tom Lynch-Jay Foust-Jim Murphy 129, $200; 4. (tie) Andrew DeForest-Don Beesmer-John Hornbeck-Kevin McGrane & Anders Mattson-John Barscz-Dan Munn-Jim Waldbilling 130, $137.50; 6. (tie) Jesse Steel-Jim Davenport-Richard Netter-Keenan Taylor & Steve Simeon-Ken Gilligan-Dennis Larios-Paul Larios 132, $87.50, 8. Paul Jaycox-Pete Lucas-Paul Casciaro-John Briggs 136, $50.
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