James Ondo, head pro at Apawamis Club in Rye, captured his first Met Section win in the Polo Head Professional Championship played at Willow Ridge CC in Harrison on May 30 and 31. He overcame a four-stroke lead held by Fresh Meadow CC’s Matt Dobyns at the end of the first day of play to take the title by a single stroke on the final round. A string of five birdies in the seven holes from the seventh to the 13th made the difference.
“Playing in the final group with Nick Yaun from Brae Burn and Matt Dobyns, both great professionals, was a unique opportunity,” says Ondo. “I just told myself all week to be patient. I like the golf course and I knew there were some birdies out there because the greens were rolling so well. I was lucky to roll in one more birdie than Matt.”
Other notable Westchester and Hudson Valley pros in the top ten included Charlie Meola, Saxon Woods (3), Steve Scott, Paramount, (5) Rob Labritz, GlenArbor (T6), and Christopher Marinaro, Trump National Westchester (T9).
Craig Thomas, Metropolis CC
Craig Thomas, head pro at Metropolis CC in White Plains, snagged his second Met Section win of the young season with a victory in the Polo Senior Head Professional Championship played concurrently at Willow Ridge. Thomas won in a tie-breaker over Scott Hawkins of Glen Head CC.
“When I heard we were starting the tie-breaker on the tenth hole, I felt that gave me a bit of an advantage,” Thomas says. “I hit a really good drive, put a four iron on the green, and two-putted for the win.”
The weekend before the Met Section event, Thomas returned from competing in the Senior PGA Championship in Washington, D.C., a tournament won by Bernhard Langer. In January, he placed second in the PGA Senior Stroke Play Championship in Florida.
Three other Westchester pros finished in the top ten in the senior event. They were David Young, Sleepy Hollow (T3), Mike Diffley, Pelham (T3) and Nelson Long, Century (10).