28th Annual Otesaga Hotel Seniors Open Tees Off with Hall of Famer Jim Rice Leading Pro-Am Field

Cooperstown Tournament at Leatherstocking Golf Course Begins Wednesday; More than $50,000 Raised for Pathfinder Village Scholarship Fund at Tuesday’s Pro-Am

September 07, 2010
Jim Rice was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009. (Milo Stewart Jr./National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)

Jim Rice has been a part of baseball's best weekend for each of the last two years in Cooperstown, as one of the newest members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

But on Tuesday, Rice experienced the golfer's paradise known as Leatherstocking Golf Course as celebrity host for one of the northeast's premier seniors tournaments.

Rice, a 2009 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee, returned to Cooperstown for the Pro-Am portion of the 28th Annual Otesaga Hotel Seniors Open Tournament at the Leatherstocking Golf Course, a four-day event that features nearly 100 senior pros from around the country which begins on Wednesday and concludes Friday.

"It is a great time of the year to come to Cooperstown because it is so laid back," said Rice of his return to Cooperstown.

Known for his titanic strength and display of power during his 16-season major league career with the Boston Red Sox, Rice returned to Cooperstown for the first time other than a Hall of Fame Weekend to play in the kick-off event for the three-day Seniors Open Tournament. As one of the top non-PGA tournaments for seniors, a $75,000 purse will be awarded to the top finishers at this week's tournament.

Rice participated in the Pro-Am on Tuesday. (Milo Stewart Jr./National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)The 2010 Otesaga Hotel Seniors Open and Pro-Am Golf Tournament is made possible by NBT Bank, Coca-Cola Enterprises and Strategic Financial Services, LLC, of Utica.

A total of 104 amateurs and 25 professionals, along with Rice, took to the famed Leatherstocking Golf Course on Tuesday morning to benefit Pathfinder Village Scholarship Fund, a residential community in nearby Edmeston for children and adults with Down syndrome. More than $50,000 was raised on Tuesday for Pathfinder Village scholarships and programs. Proceeds from the tournament also benefit the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum's educational programs, enabling the world-famous institution to fulfill its educational mission through educational initiatives.

Professional Gary Ostrega of Westfield, N.J. led his team to a victory, the second straight year Ostrega was paired with the winning group. Ostrega's teammates for the Pro-Am were Rick Eastman, Robert Harlem Jr., Pete Hattem and Lee Rittenburg. The names of the first-place team will be engraved on the Joseph P. Franzese Memorial Trophy, named after the tournament's founder.

Competition in the Seniors Open begins Wednesday morning with 8 a.m. tee times and continues through Friday.