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LI golfer helps save child’s life while playing at Holbrook CC

Richard Frisenda had what he called “The perfect round of golf” recently at Holbrook Country Club even though a lot of things went wrong that day and he has no idea what his score was. The important part was, before his foursome teed off on the 14th hole, he saved a 2-year-old boy’s life.

The group just happened to be in the right place when the child fell into an in-ground pool and “was submerged for quite a while,” said Frisenda, a retired police lieutenant from Mount Sinai, adding that he had only “a faint heartbeat.” The thing is, the foursome had been frustrated all day because the group in front of them was so slow. But it turned out that if Frisenda’s foursome had been playing at a normal pace, it would have been too far away to hear the screams from the backyard of a house on Joanne Avenue.

“If those guys hadn’t been so slow, the boy would have passed away,” said Carmine Puzzi, Frisenda’s friend and regular golf partner. Puzzi added that they had planned to play Island’s End in Greenport that day but he did not feel like making the drive from his home in Malverne. So they went to Holbrook, where they were paired with two other golfers.

Wayne Daniels of Middle Island, one of the other golfers, said, “Thank God we were there at the time. To me, it was the best round of golf I ever had.”

They were finally ready to play the 14th when they heard shouting from the yard. Daniels thought it was just the sound of children playing. “I was trying to tee off but I had to stop several times because of the screaming,” he said.

But Frisenda made out a man’s voice frantically shouting, “Call 911!” The former police officer dropped his club, cut through the woods, jumped a chain link fence and starting applying CPR. “I don’t know how he did it. He just turned 60,” Puzzi said.

It took about a minute (“An eternity,” Frisenda said) but the boy resumed breathing and bit the rescuer’s finger. He was taken by ambulance to the hospital, where he was cleared. Meanwhile, Frisenda accepted thanks from very grateful parents and returned to the tee, giving his fellow golfers a thumbs-up. The other three suggested they call it a day, but Frisenda insisted on finishing the round.

He has no idea what he shot on the 14th through 18th holes because he forgot about writing down anything on the scorecard. “Our scores were simply not important,” he said, adding, “This beats my hole-in-one last year at Willow Creek—by far.”

Foley keeps tabs on Park

Instructor Sean Foley was at The Barclays this week to work with some of his students, including Olympic gold medal winner Justin Rose, and was keeping up with one of his other pupils, LPGA tour player Annie Park of Levittown. By Thursday afternoon, he already knew that she had played well (3-under) in the first round of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in Calgary.

“She’s doing well, she’s having a good rookie year,” said Foley, Tiger Woods’ former teacher, who sees Park in person five or six times a year. “She just needs to putt better.” When it was suggested that every golfer can say that, Foley said that it is particularly important for Park, who is working on a smoother more consistent stroke. Park shot 5-over on Friday and missed the cut.

Mottola retiring from MGA

Jay Mottola this week announced his retirement, effective in December, after 34 years as head of the Metropolitan Golf Association. His run has encompassed a time of immense growth in local golf.

“I think the staff is in great shape, the association is in great shape. I certainly want to stay engaged,” he said during the Met Open at Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury this week. “One of the biggest challenges is keeping millennials engaged.” He pointed out that many young adults have played as children but have put golf on hold as they start their careers.

“But I think clubs in this area are strong. They have withstood the big recession of 2008 with only a few casualties,” he said. “Into the future, golf will remain strong.”

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