WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Match play in the 2020 Watertown Men’s City Golf Championship kicked off Sunday at the Watertown Golf Club with 32 of the top players in the area looking to take home the top prize.
Defending champ John Bufalini, who took the top seed by virtue of being the defending champ, squared off against Bill Yeardon. Bufalini would beat Yeardon 5 and 4.
Medalist from Saturday’s qualifying, 2nd seed Jordan Reardon, took on John Kelly. Reardon would go on to defeat Kelly 7 and 6.
Also in Reardon’s group: former city champ Adam Brown. Brown squared off against Rick Algie. Algie would beat Brown on the 19th hole.
4th seed Marcus Emerson battled Dylan Kernehan. Kernehan would upset Emerson 2 and 1.
5th seed Brandon Mothersell drew Rocco Canale in the opening round. Mothersell would go on to defeat Canale 1 up.
Former city champ Joe Tufo played in the grouping with Mothersell. Tufo would move on, beating Paul Grant Jr. 1 up.
Former city champ James Ambrose fell to Shawn Thomas and 9th seed George Labarr lost to Dave Marconi.
Match play continues all week with the semis on Saturday and the 36 hole match play final Sunday.
And some breaking news that could affect the fall sports season at JCC:
The Athletic and ESPN are reporting that the NJCAA will hold an emergency board meeting Monday at 3:30 to vote on a proposal that would shift the seasons of fall and winter sports due to COVID-19.
If the proposal goes through, men’s and women’s basketball would start with practices on January 11th with the season starting January 29th. The regular season ending March 27th and championships beginning April 19th. The report also says that volleyball would begin with practices on January 4th.
Cannoneers Athletic Director Jeff Wiley says that the sports impacted at JCC would be men’s and women’s hoops, volleyball and men’s and women’s soccer.
Earlier this week, the Ivy League announced their would be no football this fall due to COVID-19 and many power 5 conferences have announced that they would be playing conference only schedules this season.
Locally, the St. Lawrence Saints find themselves in a similar situation, learning this week their season was essentially being cut in half. It was the latest change in a string of many for Coach Dan Puckhaber’s team.
On Tuesday, the SLU football team found out that their season would not start on time when the university in conjunction with the Liberty League announced that a return to competition would not begin earlier than September 28th.
”With football, we have certain requirements that have to be attained before you can play a game. So for us to make everybody happy, which is the all the safety reasons and precautions for COVID, we can’t start our season until essentially week 5 for us which is the beginning of October, but I will take 5 games over zero games any day of the week,” said Puckhaber.
Puckhaber says the extra time to get ready will not only benefit the team with their on field preparation, but will also help the players adjust to a new norm off the football field as well.
”Because there’s gonna be so many changes for the kids and what we’re asking them to do on campus and how they’re gonna be eating their meals, taking classes, that it gives us an opportunity to let them get into a little bit of normalcy. I think in the new world that they’re gonna be in, before we actually have to go out and compete and I’m a big believer that if you’re in a good spot in classes and on campus then you have a better chance of playing well,” said Puckhaber.
The Saints were scheduled to open their season under the lights at Leckonby Stadium against Utica College in a 7 o’clock kickoff and losing that game along with contests against Norwich, Morrisville and RIT is going to hurt.
”That first part of the season when we’re playing those non-league games, to miss out on those it’s hard because- Hey, I’ll be honest with you, our kids were really looking forward to competing against Utica and having them travel up here and play them under the lights and open up the season on a Friday night, but we’re not a program that cries over spilled milk. We’re gonna see what is put in front of us and we know that’s what we’re gonna have to go against,” said Puckhaber.
With things changing daily and bigger schools and conferences re-thinking whether or not to play in the fall, Puckhaber remains optimistic about his team hitting the field in 2020.
”The NESCAC, which is the high academic league out in the New England area, schools that are very similar to St. Lawrence, they just made the announcement that they’re not gonna be competing in the fall athletically and that was a big one, that one hurts. But I am the forever the glass is half full, the school made a commitment, we found all the things we wanted to do, we’re gonna try to make an attempt at this,” said Puckhaber.
An attempt Puckhaber hopes results in his team getting on the gridiron in October.