Joe Saladino of Huntington has won the Long Island Amateur (in 2007) among his many other titles and honors in golf. He was the Met Player of the Year in 2010, having won the Nassau Invitational and Havemeyer Memorial, qualified for the U.S. Amateur and reached the round of 16 at the U.S. Mid-Amateur (losing to Phil Mickelson's brother).
On Friday, he will take all that skill and experience into another L.I. Amateur final, this time, at Tam O'Shanter Club in Brookville, against the youth and raw power of Clancy Waugh, 16, of Deepdale Golf Club (he also plays at National Golf Links of America).
Saladino was typically solid in a pair of wins Thursday. He beat Hal Berman of Middle Bay, 4 and 2, in the morning and Tim Rosenhouse of Engineers, 4 and 3, in the afternoon.
Waugh, the medalist with a 68 in the qualifying round Tuesday, defeated Connor Monaghan of North Fork, 3 and 2, in the morning and defeated Tom Trakoval of Port Jefferson CC, 4 and 3, in the afternoon. In the latter match, he made a hole-in-one with a 117-yard pitching wedge shot on the second hole.
"I just babied it and tried to take out all the spin," he said.
Waugh is the son of Seth Waugh, Deutsche Bank executive and co-owner of the Long Island Ducks.
Still, it was not easy to beat Trakoval, 55, who played five solid rounds in three days (and carried his own bag in the first three of those rounds). He works out all winter at the office fitnes center at Independent Group Home Living in Manorville, where he works. "I like being the oldest guy in the field to get through," said Trakoval, who shot under par in the semifinal against Waugh, but just couldn't match the latter's length (360-yard drive on the par-5 11th).
Now the kid plays the master--the way Saladino faced top local golfers when he was a teenager. Waugh said after his round he never has met Saladino. "I've heard a lot about him," the 16-year-old said of the 31-year-old. "Everyone has been talking about him a lot all week, saying I've been lucky not to see him until the final."