For a course superintendent, preparing for a major championship is like a hockey team being in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Sebonack Golf Club's Garret Bodington knows all about majors, having worked at Augusta National and Bethpage Black. He also knows about the playoffs, too, taking his usual spot last night as an off-ice official at the Islanders game.
Bodington was a goalie for the University of Rhode Island, while he was getting the degree in turf management that is helping get Sebonack ready for the U.S. Women's Open June 24-27. It obviously is a busy time. He had a meeting with U.S. Golf Association officials at the course Friday, and by the time he was done, he had 30 messages on his cell phone.
But even a major-bound superintendent does not work at night, so he worked the Penguins penalty box in Game 6. "I have a lot of passion for the game of golf, but I've always loved putting on skates and frustrating shooters," said the man who has been an off-ice official at the Coliseum for 10 years.
He has worked at golf courses since he was 12, and benefited from his time on the crew at Augusta. His passion for hockey goes back even longer, from when he grew up in Cranston, R.I., 10 blocks from Islanders coach Jack Capuano. Their families are friends. The two men have brothers who played on each other's teams.
"It's nice to see him getting kudos for all the hard work on the long road to getting where he is," Bodington said.
Bodington has received kudos for the way he has tended Sebonack from its inception. Club owner Michael Pascucci said last month that Bodington "has the place immaculate." LPGA pros and USGA agronomists also have been impressed. At the meeting Friday, Bodington said, "They wanted to make sure we're on the same page so that when they come out four weeks from now, they won't be surprised by anything.
"I think there's a correlation between working a golf tournament and working a playoff game," he said. "The pressure is on. You don't want to make a mistake because you know it will be magnified."
Joe Saladino of Huntington Country Club won the Havemeyer Invitational yesterday for the second time in four years. Saladino scored a 5 and 4 final victory over Ryan Barnett of Noyac Golf Club to capture one of the most prestigious and venerable amateur events on Long Island. It has been held annually since 1951 at Southward Ho Country Club in Bay Shore in honor of Horace Havemeyer, the member who rescued the club from insolvency in 1945 . . . Annie Park of Levittown, the top player for USC, tied for the title at the NCAA Women's West Regional, and led the Trojans to the team championship. Kelly Shon of Port Washington and Princeton shot 7-under par for the three-round East Regional, finishing second. Both players qualified for the NCAA championship, May 21-24 at the University of Georgia . . . The Long Island local qualifier for the men's U.S. Open will be at the Baiting Hollow Club Thursday. It is open to the public. First on the tee at 8:15 will be Farmingdale teenager Matt Lowe.