Fourteen-year-old Ted Lewis recently won the Glen Head Country Club junior championship, which was satisfying enough. He saw it as a fine finish to a season in which he won three Met PGA junior tournaments. Just for experience, he entered the Glen Head men's championship tournament. He won that, too.
So he became the youngest titlist in 66-year history of the club and earned a men's title before his first day of high school (he played for Wheatley's varsity as a seventh- and eighth-grader).
"We've been working very hard on his golf swing and his form has been fantastic," said his teacher, Scott Hawkins, the head pro at Glen Head. For years, Hawkins has been showing photos of Ben Hogan's swing and the youngster has absorbed the lessons.
"On top of that, he practices more than anybody," the pro said. "He didn't expect to do a lot in the men's club championship, but I expected him to. He's so cool."
Without projecting too much, it is not a stretch to think Lewis can become like Hawkins and his former Long Island teenage peers Ralph Howe III and Tom Patri, all of whom became professionals. "Or," Hawkins said, "even better."
Labritz's check 'bounces'
Rob Labritz has been texting with Jason Dufner, having played a high-stakes practice round match with Dufner, Keegan Bradley and Dustin Johnson before the PGA Championship, which Dufner won. You could say Labritz, the former Shinnecock Hills assistant and now director of golf at GlenArbor in Westchester, gave Dufner good luck. He also gave Dufner a $750 check to pay off the match bet.
"He sent it back with 'void' written across it," Labritz said during the Met Open at Old Westbury Golf & Country Club Tuesday. "He sent it with a note saying, 'It was great meeting you, I just couldn't get myself to cash the check. Good luck with your family. See you at Valhalla in 2014.' Great guy."
Labritz respectfully withdrew from the Met Open after one round, citing the fact he had seen his newborn daughter, Ryan, for only one day through the post-Oak Hill whirlwind.
More than 200 people, including several fellow pros, turned out for a tribute last Friday night to Austin Straub, who is retiring after 27 years as a pro at Cold Spring Country Club.
Before Cold Spring, Straub worked at several other Long Island courses. He also played on the PGA Tour and what is now called the Champions Tour. He played in four U.S. Opens and made the cut at the 1979 PGA Championship.
John Kennedy, former head pro at Cold Spring and now director of golf at Westchester Country Club, was among the speakers. Other pros attending were Tom Joyce, Billy Smith, Tom DeBellis and Mal Galetta Jr.
A pair of aces
It will be worth paying attention the next time Marilyn Picarelli of Miller Place plays the 126-yard par-3 third hole on Spring Lake Golf Club's Sandpiper course. She certainly will know what club to use.
On July 22, she pulled out her 5-iron and fired a perfect shot that went in for a hole-in-one. The flagstick was up front, so she and everyone else in her group had a good view of the ball disappearing. "About half the time, I don't even hit that green," said Picarelli, who plays in a women's league on the Sandpiper.
Exactly four weeks later, playing the same hole, with the same group, using the same 5-iron, she did it again. The hole location was slightly farther back, but the foursome saw the whole thing develop again. Picarelli said her playing partners couldn't believe it and, four days later, she added, "I'm still actually shocked."