For two years, or as long as he knew the tournament would be at The Creek Club in Locust Valley, Jim Farrell had his eye on the Long Island Open. "It was all I thought about, honestly," the Creek's teaching pro said yesterday, a day after he turned the thought into a title.
Farrell rallied to get into a three-way three-hole playoff with Matt Dobyns and Mike Furci on Friday, then was the only one to make three birdies. "I said to myself, 'You've played these holes a million times. Go birdie them all,' " he said.
True, there is an advantage to playing on your home course, but there also is pressure. Host pros rarely win the Long Island Open. Farrell had friendly faces in the gallery Friday, some of whom good naturedly asked him why his shots landed in difficult spots. He told them he hadn't aimed there.
Still, he enjoyed every bit of it. "I really felt like I was out there, playing with the members, which is how you should feel all the time," he said, having finished the playoff by lacing his 195-yard second shot on the par-5 18th within 10 feet of the hole. He two-putted for birdie. Within hours, the entire membership learned about the victory through a mass emailing. "They were all over me today. That was great," he said.
He is in his fifth season at The Creek, joining head pro Sean Farren's staff after having been director of golf at Muttontown and taught at SkyDrive in Farmingdale. He will compete in the national club pro championship outside Philadelphia later this week. Saturday, though, it was back to work, giving lessons.
Busy week for Dobyns, Park
Dobyns' solid week nearly was a great one. Before he made the Long Island Open playoff, he was within one shot of a second consecutive berth in the U.S. Open. He aggressively tried for birdie on his final hole of the qualifier at Century Country Club in Purchase on Monday but made bogey. He finished two strokes out of the last spot.
"It's something to build on," said the Fresh Meadow head pro and former national club pro champion. He will keep trying to get in the U.S. Open, as he did last year, when he missed the cut by a stroke on the final hole. "I feel like if I get another chance maybe I can sneak into the weekend."
Annie Park of Levittown made her professional debut Friday, shooting 1-over-par in the first round of the Symetra Tour's Decatur-Forsyth Classic in Decatur, Illinois.
LPGA enjoys New York
It was an extraordinary week for LPGA Tour pros in New York for the KPMG Women's PGA at Westchester Country Club. Brittany Lincicome won't forget it. She rang the NASDAQ closing bell Tuesday (with Long Islander Kelly Shon), then tossed the ceremonial first pitch at Citi Field. She remarked, "Oh look at that little kid" before she realized it was Triple Crown-winning jockey Victor Espinoza. She asked to pose for a photo with him. Then she went up to the owners' suite and talked golf with Jeff Wilpon -- and watched a no-hitter.
A golf compilation forwarded by longtime Sayville High golf coach Tony Gamboli included a photo from an unidentified course, showing this sign: "You are 150 yards from the center of the green. You are 175 yards from a $200 glass window. Choose your club carefully!"