Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson saw the future earlier than most. He watched Jennifer Rosenberg of Laurel Hollow compete at Augusta National four years ago and had an encouraging 10-minute talk with her under the club’s fabled oak tree.
He just said, "Keep doing what you’re doing,’” Rosenberg said this week, recalling the 2015 national Drive, Chip and Putt final, in which she bombed out in the driving portion of the skills contest, then won her age category in chipping and putting and tied for first overall.
Rosenberg has essentially given that same advice to herself this summer and her future is looking brighter all the time. It shone through the rain Tuesday when she won the Long Island Women’s Amateur Stroke Play title at Bethpage Blue. The future could see her become Long Island’s next prime-time, national-class golfer.
Now a rising junior at Tulane, Rosenberg won her second big women’s amateur title in a month, having taken the New York State championship in mid-July. This time, she made four birdies on the back nine to finish 6 under for 36 holes, breaking out of a tie with runner-up Danielle Bambola, who also has sights on a career in golf after she finishes her senior year at Cortland.
The latest trophy had Rosenberg looking ahead. “This summer I’ve worked the hardest I’ve ever worked. I really want to be one of the best and in order to do that I need to practice every day,” she said right after the win. “That’s what I’ve been doing, especially on putting and especially four to 15 feet. I had a lot of those today and I sank so many.”
Credit putting lessons from teaching pro Jamie Hurless at Glen Oaks, where she is a member. Credit the work she has put in ever since her father brought Jennifer and her brother Jack to the course every weekend when she was young. Credit the influence of her grandfather, Morty Howard, a seven-time club champion at Fresh Meadow. Credit the forward thinking that began long ago.
“I was into every sport. I think in seventh grade I realized golf was what I wanted to do and that I could go really far in that,” she said.
High points on the journey so far include a Nassau high school girls championship with a record score and a gold medal at the Maccabiah Games in Israel. But perhaps most pivotal of all was her nationally televised performance as a 15-year-old at the Masters site. “I think that really helped me with the pressure. I’ve been able to calm the nerves in moments like this, where we were tied,” she said, having turned a tie into a five-shot win in the Long Island Golf Association event.
“She was just amazing,” said Bambola, a former star soccer goalie at Miller Place. “She has always been really good, she’s a top competitor. It’s up and down and this time we were both up then she just got me really good. It just drives me to do better. I’ve played the best golf I’ve played in a long time and I’m still not satisfied. So, it just makes me want to do better.”
Both golfers agreed that the best part of golf is that there always is something to make you excited about the future.
Kang wins Glen Head title
Alexander Kang of Harbor Links shot 3-over par for 36 holes and won a two-hole aggregate playoff over Dominic Formato of North Hills and Nick Demeo Jr. of Wheatley Hills Thursday to win the third annual Glen Head (Country Club) Classic.
One of the annual best moments in Long Island golf reappeared this past Monday with the 11th Keith Cerrato Caddie Tournament. Held every year at Cherry Valley Club in Garden City, it is the one event at which the pro and members wait on the caddies, instead of the other way around.
“The Keith,” as it is known, invites caddies from all over the Met Section to play with sponsorship backing from their respective club members and other friends. Proceeds go to a scholarships for students at Chaminade High School and Hofstra in honor of Cerrato, a Cherry Valley caddie (and alumnus of the two schools) who was killed when he was hit by a car while crossing Hempstead Turnpike.
Chris Sullivan of Deepdale won with a 1-over-par 73, four shots ahead of Brookville’s Alex Freedman and Garden City Golf Club’s Vernon Russell.
“Cherry Valley club has supported our cause for 11 years because Keith was one of theirs,” said John Cerrato, Keith’s father. “He loved this club and they have returned the love with this special day. We cannot help our son any more, but we can help other sons and daughters.”
George Altemose, Timber Point Blue, second hole, 134 yards, 7-iron
Simone Crames, Glen Oaks Club Blue, eighth hole, 151 yards, 5-wood
Mark Bradbard, Bethpage Red, 12th hole, 171 yards, 3-wood
Alex Wagman, Old Westbury Bluegrass, third hole, 150 yards, 7-iron
Morty Schaja, Old Westbury Woods, eighth hole, 156 yards, 5-wood
Jan Platnick, Woodmere Club, third hole, 100 yards, 8-iron
John Purcell, Town of Oyster Bay GC, 12th hole, 110 yards, pitching wedge
Ed Torriero, Indian Island GC, eighth hole, 141 yards, 4-hybrid