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LI courses cope with torrential rain

Brookhaven Highway Department workers pump water on Boyle

Brookhaven Highway Department workers pump water on Boyle Street in Selden after heavy rain left it flooded, snarling traffic Wednesday morning, Aug. 13, 2014. Credit: Daniel Brennan

The first hole of the Sandpiper course at Spring Lake in Middle Island is renowned for being tough because of its two water hazards. But this week, head pro Cristy Jurgens said, "It's all underwater."

Bergen Point in West Babylon took extraordinary measures to prepare for the elements after Superstorm Sandy, but there is only so much anyone can do when a summer's worth of rain falls in one day, as it did Wednesday.

The deluge that tied up Long Island roads swamped several courses, forcing them to close for a day or two, and causing workers such superintendent Bob Langhauser and crew at Bergen Point "to work triple overtime," head pro Paul Rollo said.

Thirteen inches of rain washed out many bunkers, Rollo said, and made the ground very soft. Carts were restricted to paths on Friday, but people at the course were proud they were able to open.

Jurgens said superintendent Don Amsler and crew have been pumping water into a large dry pit at Spring Lake, while holes 2-8 on Sandpiper are open. No. 10 on the 18-hole Thunderbird course was shortened because the tee there was submerged. Still, the course was able to host an outing Friday.

David Preston, head pro at Southward Ho in Bay Shore, said superintendent Jim Stewart and his staff spent days draining bunkers, adding new sand and generally helping the course overcome 13 inches of rain so the club championship could go on this weekend.

A triumphant return

After Dani Mullin broke her elbow during the junior year of her varsity career at Elon (N.C.) University, and for 2½ years after that, she said, "I didn't pick up a club. I thought I'd never play golf again."

The West Islip resident worked briefly in research at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, started graduate work in neuroscience at Stony Brook and didn't give the game a second thought. Then her father, Pat, suggested that she "swing a club or two, just out of curiosity."

She discovered she had the same form with which she won the Suffolk girls high school title as a ninth-grader. Mullin reunited with her teacher, Mike Darrell, the head pro at Mill Pond in Medford. She entered the Southward Ho women's club championship, won it and decided to play some more.

With crisp iron play this week, she shot a pair of 69s on Bethpage Red and won the Long Island Women's Amateur Stroke Play title. She proved she can play while maintaining her studies, tutoring young students and caddying at National Golf Links of America in Southampton (her boss there, Dan Brady, caddied for her in the tournament).

Who knows where it might lead? "I haven't narrowed that one down yet," she said. "A bunch of girls I grew up playing with are on tour or on mini-tours. But I had just thought I was so far out of the picture, this really hasn't hit me yet."


A special ace

Frank Dintrone of West Babylon had a rough year. His mother was hospitalized, then his father died in April. Dintrone, a member of the men's club at Bergen Point, barely played golf and when he did, his game was so sluggish that his handicap rose from 15 to 18.

That trend changed last Sunday when he drained a 200-yard 3-wood shot for a double eagle 2 on Bergen Point's fourth hole. It was so improbable, Dintrone said, "I believe my father had a hand in it."

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