A timely drive-the-green gamble paid off for St. Andrew’s GC head professional Greg Bisconti this week when an eagle on the 17th hole earned him the champion’s purse at the 85th Emerson Resort & Spa Woodstock Open.
“When I got to the hole, I didn’t know how things stood and if I should lay up or go for it,” Bisconti said. “I was going back and forth, and I decided to go for it. I felt like it was the right thing to do. I hit a great shot that landed on the front of the green and made the 12-foot putt.”
The eagle gave him a 6-under-par 64 for the win. As it turned out, Bisconti could have played the hole for par as he did the rest of the course and still won the tournament. Mike Shine, an assistant at Schuyler Meadow Club in Loudonville, finished runner-up with a 67.
“Not knowing the course, I tried to play more conservatively and hit a lot of irons off the tee,” Bisconti said. “I didn’t really take any risks and tried to play smart and aim at the middle of the greens when the pins were tucked.” The par four 17th was just too great a temptation, though. “It was 260 yards with a breeze in my face. That’s right in my wheelhouse. I’m not one of these big bombers.” Monday was the first time Bisconti ever played Woodstock Golf Club, the private nine-hole gem in Woodstock, NY.
Bisconti, a 47-year-old resident of South Salem, posted nines of 32-32 on the 5,429-yard tightly designed course. Along with his pivotal eagle on 17th, Bisconti recorded 5 birdies and only one bogey. The one risk he took clinched the $3,000 winner’s share of the $9,950 purse up for grabs by the 61-player field.
The Westchester standout’s career includes competing in three PGA Championships, finishing as low club pro in 2009 at Hazeltine National Golf Club. He was named the 2009 Metropolitan PGA Player of the Year and was a member of St. John’s University’s golf team.
“Another year and another exciting finish with Bisconti topping the leaderboard with a brilliant finish,” said Tamara Murray, Marketing and Sales Director at the Emerson Resort & Spa. “We’re looking forward to seeing everyone again next year.”
Host professional Chris Sanger along with Jesse Steel and Nicholas Dilo ended the morning round atop the leaderboard after carding 68s. They finished tied for third with Andrew DeForest and Jeffrey Schaller. Defending champion and local sensation Justin Lane tied for top amateur honors with Devlin Walsh and Michael Sporton, each shooting 70. The amateur threesome tied for ninth place overall with three-time winners Scott Berliner and Mel Baum, Gray Barnes and Chris Ferraro. Baum was the low senior, winning by four shots over 2001 Woodstock Open champion Dal Daly (74).
“This is the best thing to happen to me during COVID,” Bisconti added. “Winning never gets old. It actually boosts confidence when you’re a few years of being 50. It’s the only sport where you get beat up more than you win. Enjoy the wins when you get them.”
This one-day tournament is believed to be the longest running tourney in the country at one site for both professionals and amateurs. Past Woodstock Open fields have included Masters champions Gene Sarazen and Doug Ford.