John Ambrose feels father's presence during round at Calverton Links
Mark HerrmannMark Herrmann
Herrmann has covered the Mets and Yankees since 1988,
Once a year, John Ambrose, who coached PGA Tour pro Arjun Atwal at Clarke High and now coaches in Indiana, returns to Long Island to visit relatives and friends. Not wanting to pay the extra airline fee to bring his clubs, he always uses borrowed ones. This year, those clubs produced two unforgettable shots that really hit home.
He was playing at Calverton Links with Clarke volleyball coach Joe Harclerode and teed off on the par-5, 504-yard fourth hole with the driver once owned by Joe's late father-in-law Frank Corbo. It was a solid shot, leaving him with only a 195-yard 5-iron to the green.
The 5-iron was an old Spalding Executive that belonged to John's late father, Allen. "I hit dad's old 5-iron perfectly, but nobody saw it land because of the high sky," John said.
When he walked toward the green to follow his playing partner's shot from the rough, he noticed his ball was nowhere to be found on the green. He looked in the cup, and the ball was there, snugly home as Ambrose's first double-eagle.
"Doing it with my dad's iron and Frank's driver was very emotional for me, since they both took up the game late in life but really enjoyed it," Ambrose said.
Because his parents are both buried at Calverton National Cemetery, Ambrose drove directly there from the course. "I placed the ball, the club and the scorecard there and took a picture," he said.
Santacroce wins LI Am
Two rounds of stroke play and a three-hole aggregate playoff could not determine the winner in the Long Island Women's Amateur championship, which, in the estimation of Long Island Golf Association tournament director John McGrath, was some of the best golf he has seen this season.
Defending champion Marie Santacroce of Mattituck, a first-team All-Peach Belt Conference player at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fla., beat Casey Durant of New Hyde Park on an extra playoff hole.
Getting there was the interesting part, said McGrath, who runs tournaments involving pros and top men's amateurs, too. Durant, a student at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., birdied three of the final four holes of regulation, finishing 2 over.
Santacroce, playing in the same pairing for the final round at Eisenhower Red on Wednesday, knew she needed par to tie. She blasted out of the back bunker and made the putt.
Durant, a former Long Island Spelling Bee champion and a gold medalist in the American Mathematics Contest, nearly eagled the first playoff hole -- "The ball was three-quarters down," McGrath said -- but settled for a birdie and lost three holes later to a par.
The experience will help Durant, one of two Long Islanders chosen to represent the Metropolitan First Tee at Pebble Beach next month. She and Brittany Ferrante of Huntington Station will play alongside pros in the Champions Tour Nature Valley First Tee Open.
And the winner was . . .
Following up on last week's story about the father-son final in the Lawrence Yacht & Country Club championship: the winner was the son, 33-year-old Adam Zipkin, on the 29th hole of the 36-hole match. "This is the most pleasant beating I've ever had," said Gerry, the dad, who has won 13 titles at two clubs.
Putting for doughJim Lusk, the head pro at Seawane, and his staff set out to prove the second half of the "Drive for show, putt for dough" maxim. They took 3,510 20-foot putts on Friday and made 895 of them, with each successful putt bringing donations from members for the Long Island Alzheimers Foundation and Met PGA Junior Golf. The pros' putters raised $16,101.25.
Met Open on LI
Glory's Last Shot, Local Edition: All three area pros who competed in the PGA Championship -- Mark Brown, Danny Balin and Rob Labritz -- will be in the field for the Met Open at Old Westbury Golf & Country Club Tuesday through Thursday. The public is welcome and admission is free. Stanford-bound amateur Jim Liu of Smithtown also is in the field.