A day on the greens

As golfers took to Shorewood Country Club Friday morning for the 51st Annual Polish National Alliance National Golf Tournament, everyone raved about the conditions of the course.

What they didn’t like was the strong winds which hovered over the course along Lake Erie.

As scores were turned in to golf pro Vince Puglia at the end of the round, it was no surprise the scores were well over the par-72.

Tournament chairman and participant Ron Rys turned in the best score of the day with an 82 in the Championship Flight. Rys shot a 37 on the front nine and a 45 on the back nine. He is competing in his first tournament since having wrist surgery. That, factored in with increasing winds, led to his higher score on the back nine.

“I birdied No. 3 and made a lot of pars on the front nine,” Rys said. “I kept the ball on the fairway and made a few putts. The course is really, really tough with this wind. The wind destroyed some golfers.”

When his day was over, his wrist was clearly swollen and he said he may not golf in the final round today.

“On the back nine, my hand caught up to me,” he said. “I don’t think I am going to play (today). I don’t want to take a chance. If the swelling goes down, maybe I will try. I won this tournament twice already. What are you going to do? I don’t want to hurt myself.”

If Rys can’t go today, the leader in the Championship Flight will be Howard Butters from Elmira, who shot an 84. Butters shot a 42 on the front nine and 42 on the back nine.

“The wind was extremely strong,” Butters said. “Everyone struggled with the wind today. Good golfers are being humbled by the wind today. I didn’t think I would be near the top. Some of the guys I know are better golfers than me, but they had a lot more trouble. I was able to get away with a lot more than they were.

“The par-5s were extremely hard,” Butters continued. “They all seemed to be playing into the wind. You would hit the ball and it would go nowhere. You had to pound it.”

Despite the low score of 84, Butters noted his putting was his biggest flaw in the opening round as he missed four chances for birdie.

Jeff Finnerty is in the lead in the A Flight with an 87 while Eric Pawlos is two strokes behind the lead. In the B Flight, Cliff Beverly leads the pack with an 86. Bill Schmidt III, William Russell and John Mailloux are tied for second at 90.

Jeff Twardy shot an 83 to take the lead in the C Flight. Jeremiah Hood is in second place, seven strokes behind. In the D Flight, Jerry Townsend shot an 84 for the lead and is followed by Frank Piekut at 90.

The E Flight leader is Ellsworth Beverly and Phil Miljus at 94. Beverly shot a 44 on the front nine and 50 on the back nine while Miljus shot a 47 on both the front nine and back nine. In the F Flight, Tom Jackson recorded a 44 on the front nine and a 46 on the back nine for a low score of 90. Henry Martin finds himself seven strokes back of Jackson with a 97.

The Senior Flight leader is Robert Cieslica with an 82. He shot a 41 on both the front nine and back nine.

Kathy Abruzzese, of Syracuse, shot a 102 to lead the Ladies Championship Flight. She shot a 48 on the front nine and a 54 on the back nine. Terry Viskocicz and Sherry Wonsevicz are tied for second place with a 105. In the Ladies A Flight, Denise Gerhard leads the way with a 107 and is eight strokes ahead of second-place golfer Joan Beverly.

Despite the high scores, golfers were impressed with the course.

“Everything looks beautiful,” Butters said. “I was very impressed. My heart goes out to the superintendent and the workers. To keep a course in this heat and this condition is extremely hard. Everything is gorgeous. Everyone is having a great time.”

The tournament begins today at 8:30 a.m. and Rys noted if it rains overnight, the greens will play much differently than they did Friday, and it “will be a completely different course.”