CATCHING UP WITH NYS CHAMP
By Bob Weiner
Corning Country Club hosted the Corning Classic for 30 years, and it was one of the most popular stops on the LPGA Tour during those three decades. Capital Area products Dottie Pepper, a 17-time champ from Saratoga Springs; and Laura Diaz, a two-time titlist from Scotia; made regular appearances there.
The late Ziggy Goscinski, Diaz’s godfather and one of my best friends, accompanied me to Corning on numerous occasions to watch the local standouts and root them on. We always considered that part of the Finger Lakes region to be both magical and memorable.
Now, Mary Sicard also has some magical and memorable moments from the heart of the state’s wine country and glass manufacturing Mecca.
The 55-year-old Lake George resident and member of Queensbury Country Club rallied from several shots back to win her second consecutive New York State Women’s Senior Amateur this week. She became the 12th woman to capture back-to-back titles, and she did it by edging former NYS Women’s Amateur champ Mary Jo Kelly of Wolferts Roost CC by a single shot.
In fact, Capital Area standouts dominated the leaderboard. Four locals – Sicard, Kelly, Nancy Kroll and Sue Kahler – finished in the top seven. Kroll and Kahler are also former NYS Women’s Senior Amateur champions. Kelly won a regular NYS Women’s Amateur trophy.
“It was very special to play where so many famous professional players competed,” Sicard said. “It’s definitely a pretty special place. I’m sure it wasn’t set up the same way it was for the pros all those years, but it was nice to play the same course they did.”
GOAL: 3-PEAT IN 2018
Sicard owns about a dozen club championships at Queensbury CC, where she holds the course record with a 63. She is also a former Gazette Women’s Best Ball champion. The Adirondack Community College, Siena College and University at Albany product has worked in the Glens Falls Hospital finance department for nearly 30 years, and is only now fully coming into her own as an elite player.
“I enjoyed the fact that so many of my friends were rooting me on,” she said. “That was just as special to me as taking home another trophy. I had so many local friends there with me, and I made some new friends, as well. Hearing so many people cheering for me was really special.”
Sicard, won last year’s NYS Women’s Amateur crown at Whiteface Club & Resort in Lake Placid, explained that her emotions remained in check this time: “I was starting from behind, and I figured it was anybody’s ball game in the final round. I was two shots back, and there were so many other players in the hunt that I was very relaxed. I felt no pressure. I’d much rather be behind than in the lead.”
Sicard said she rode a hot putter and some good fortune into her second big major triumph. “I got a little lucky with my putter. I made some long ones,” she said. “My goal all week was to shoot for the middle of the greens and hit as many fairways and greens as possible. I wanted to minimize my mistakes. Believe me, when I finished up first, I was not rooting for a playoff. It was a very long and hot day as it was. We were all very tired at the end.”
Sicard shot even-par (74) in the final round and had a two-day total of 153 (+5). Kelly (75-154), Kroll (809-157) and Kahler (85-164) rounded out the best of the high-powered Capital Area contingent.
“My goal is to go for a three-peat next year,” Sicard said. “About the only major event I’ve got scheduled for the rest of the season is playing in a (New York State Amateur Series) event with Pat Mayne in September. It’s been a great summer so far.”