For the seventh year in a row, one day was set aside for caddies to feel like members, and vice versa. That was Monday, when more than 100 Met Section caddies gathered at Cherry Valley Club in Garden City, not to carry clubs, but to swing them.
The tournament has become known as The Keith because it is a fundraiser in memory of Keith Cerrato, a 24-year-old Cherry Valley caddie and college student who was killed by a car while crossing Hempstead Turnpike in 2006. Every participant is sponsored by a club or an individual and the money goes to a scholarship fund for disadvantaged students. Keith's mother Mary Lou is one of the event's coordinators.
It definitely is unique, with Cherry Valley members and head pro Ed Kelly pulling up carts for the golfers and picking up balls on the range. The participants are high school, college students, full-time loopers and caddies from other walks of life.
"We had a Special Forces veteran who just got back from Afghanistan. We had another young man who has been working four years as a caddie and now has enough money to go to dental school," said Bill Goldschein, the tournament chairman, adding that there now is a website: KeithCaddieTournament.com.
Caddies are guests of honor at lunch, dinner and an awards ceremony. Among the honorees at the latter were Livingston Williams from Garden City Golf Club and Chris Sullivan from Deepdale, who tied for first by shooting 73. Mike Read from the host club shot 74. Each golfer received a gift, and saw some sights that are pretty uncommon.
"We even had a couple of members," Goldschein said, "caddying for their caddies."
Rock wins amateur title
Brad Rock Jr., an All-Suffolk quarterback for Smithtown in the late 1990s, had his breakthrough golf achievement this week when he endured a wild finish to win the Michael Hebron Amateur Championship.
Rock made par on the 18th hole at Bethpage Black the third time he played it on Tuesday to end a three-way playoff that went six holes. He received the trophy from Hebron, the PGA Hall of Fame director of golf at Smithtown Landing -- who knew Rock when he was a youngster. The tournament is the Long Island Golf Association's top amateur stroke play tournament.
The champion, who plays at Wheatley Hills, birdied Nos. 16 and 17 to finish 36 holes of regulation tied with Matt Lowe of Colonial Springs (also the freshman of the year in the Atlantic 10 for Richmond) and Joey Martinez of Maidstone. They played an aggregate three-hole playoff and still were tied, all going 1 over.
So they went to sudden death. Martinez and Rock eliminated Lowe on No. 1 with birdies -- Rock drilling a shot through the right trees to within 12 feet of the hole. Both remaining golfers made par on No. 17, then Rock two-putted to the U.S. Open Sunday pin position (back right) on 18.
LI's LPGA hopefuls
Long Island could have two golfers on the LPGA Tour next year. Kelly Shon of Port Washington is an LPGA rookie now and ranks 68th on the current money list. The top 80 players at the end of the season are assured of full status on tour for the following year, and Nos. 81-100 get conditional status.
Annie Park of Levittown is a rookie on the developmental Symetra Tour, which awards LPGA cards to those who finish in the top 10 on the money list. Based on her victory in Milwaukee last week, her second victory in her past three starts, Park is seventh despite having played in only six events.