For the past six years, Mike Meehan has spent much more time on establishing himself as head pro at Old Westbury Golf and Country Club and recovering from a skiing-related wrist injury than on winning golf tournaments. It was reassuring to him, then, on Thursday when he realized that he has not forgotten how to grab a trophy.
“That feels great, to finally win. Coming down the stretch, the times when I hit my best shots were when I kind of got a little nervous,” said the golfer who earned the Long Island PGA Championship for his first victory since 2012, when he notched his third Long Island Open title.
Meehan’s adrenaline rush helped defeat Rob Corcoran, the teaching pro at Poxabogue Golf Center, 2-up in the final at Rockaway Hunting Club in a match that was a matter of attrition. It was each competitor’s sixth round in four days. That was a lot for Meehan, especially in that he had played only two 18-hole rounds this year before the tournament.
He had stoked his competitive fire with some nine-hole matches against his assistant Mike Rine. “And he dug into my pocket a couple of times,” Meehan said. “Looking back, that was actually pretty good.”
Winning the Long Island PGA always involves beating some of the Met Section’s best players such as Corcoran, who has played in the PGA Championship. Earlier, Meehan defeated former two-time national club pro champion Matt Dobyns (Fresh Meadow) and John Guyton (Rockville Links), whom Meehan used to see when they both were assistant pros at Trump courses (they joked that their former boss should have come to watch their match).
Particularly daunting was the semifinal against Jason Caron (Mill River) who was three up through 11 despite the fact Meehan was 2 under par. Meehan won with a strong finish, then encouraged himself through the stretch in the final.
“I relied on my experience from when I used to really play golf,” the champion said. “Like, ‘I used to know how to do this. Now, figure it out, let’s go.’ ”
Joe Moresco honored by club
The Woodmere Club’s driving range will have a new title as of Sunday afternoon. It will be dedicated and renamed in memory of the late Joe Moresco, the former pro who gave lessons for 41 years on that exact spot.
Moresco, who died last March, won the 1961 Long Island PGA and qualified for four U.S. Opens. The Staten Island native broke in as an assistant to Claude Harmon at Winged Foot and later held numerous official roles, including Met PGA president. He was inducted into the Met PGA Hall of Fame in 1988.
“His true comfort zone was the lesson tee,” former Met PGA executive director Charlie Robson wrote in a tribute to be read at the ceremony. “It was there he practiced his passion: Helping others to improve, teaching them not only the intricacies of the swing but even the history and traditions of our sacred game. It was always about helping them to play better and enjoy the game. This was his office.”
LIRR’s U.S. Open service
The Long Island Rail Road and the U.S. Golf Association announced this week that additional train service will be provided to the U.S. Open June 14-17, with a stop at a special platform near the college, directly across from Shinnecock Hills Golf Club. Commuters will be able to go through security screening before crossing the pedestrian bridge over County Road 39.
Schedule information will be available at mta.info/lirr, usopen.com and the U.S. Open app, which can be downloaded beginning on May 31. Train tickets can be purchased beginning May 21.