Golfers find it refreshing to see really low numbers at a time when temperatures are rising off the charts. Long Islanders Michael Furci and Rob Corcoran can consider it downright cool, given that this week they each shot a 61 and set a course record.
Corcoran, a teaching pro at Poxabogue Golf Center in Sagaponack, did it during the Metropolitan PGA Professionals championship Tuesday at Rockland Country Club. Furci, a former player for Sayville High and the University of Florida, did it Sunday at his home course, Island Hills in Sayville -- an A.W. Tillinghast design. And he did it during a week that would have been extraordinary even if he had not shot 61 (and there had not been a heat wave).
Furci was playing with his father, Tom, at the club last Saturday when the latter made his first career hole-in-one on the 140-yard fifth hole. He used a 7-iron. Three days later, they were playing together again and this time the son made his first career ace, on the same hole, with a 9-iron.
"Then we went out and bought lottery tickets," Tom said.
But in between came the landmark round for the younger Furci, who is preparing for the New York State Open this week. The work that he has been doing with swing coach Jimi Conway at Pine Hills and putting instructor Darrell Kestner at Deepdale Golf Club all clicked during a club tournament. Actually, said the father, who was part of the same foursome that day, too, Michael tried to sink a shot from the fairway for 59 and came within eight feet, but missed the putt for a 60 on the par 71 course.
Corcoran's standard-setter also had unusual sidelights, starting with the fact that he began the round with a bogey on his second hole (No. 11) and needed to make an 18-foot putt to save par on his third. After that, he made 10 birdies on a course that played par 70.
More surprising is that he had not played much golf leading up to the tournament. Poxabogue's expansive driving range, on the north side of Montauk Highway, almost always is packed. He and his fellow teaching pro give lesson after lesson. "I played nine holes over the weekend," Corcoran said.
The former assistant pro at Lawrence, Spring Lake and Tam O'Shanter said he has been helped by analyzing his own swing with a launch monitor. The result caused his season to take off as he finished second to Rob Labritz, whose Rockland record (62) was the one Corcoran broke.
Park reaches quarters
Annie Park of Levittown reached the quarterfinals Friday of the 111th North & South Women's Amateur in Pinehurst, N.C., then lost to Ally McDonald of Mississippi State, 1-up.
Ko's 63 at Eisenhower Blue
Johnson Ko, a recent graduate of Great Neck South, shot 63 at Eisenhower Park's Blue Course in a Met PGA Junior tournament Tuesday. The pro shop staff is checking to see if that is a course record. Statistics for the Blue are not as clear as they are for the Red, which hosted a Champions Tour event. But his 63 was good enough for an eight-stroke victory.
Walker Cup picks
"It's the pinnacle of amateur golf," Patrick Rodgers of Stanford told GolfWeek Wednesday when he was one of the first five players chosen for the U.S. Walker Cup team. The group also included Michael Kim of the University of California, who was the low amateur at Merion. The Walker Cup will be held in Southampton Sept. 7-8 at the National Golf Links of America, which this week was ranked fifth in the world by Golf Architecture magazine. A survey of course designers put National in a top five with St. Andrews, Cypress Point, Pine Valley and Augusta National.