31st Annual Otesaga Hotel Seniors Open Begins as Hall of Fame Pitcher Rollie Fingers Tees-Up Pro-Am

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

September 03, 2013
The winner of Tuesday's Pro-Am was headed by senior pro Spence (center) and (from left) Bugonian, Potts, Vilacky and Severud. (Milo Stewart Jr./NBHOF)

(COOPERSTOWN, NY) - As the first reliever to record 300 saves in baseball history, Rollie Fingers was accustomed to closing out victories in his 17-year major league career. On Tuesday, the 1992 National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee returned to Cooperstown to start the 31st Annual Otesaga Hotel Seniors Open Pro-Am at the Leatherstocking Golf Course as Hall of Fame Ambassador for a day that ended in a huge victory for Pathfinder Village.

The Scholarship Fund of Pathfinder Village, a residential community in nearby Edmeston, N.Y., for children and adults with Down syndrome, received a check for $50,000 from the Pro-Am event. Proceeds from the tournament also benefit the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s education programs, enabling the world-famous institution to fulfill its outreach mission.  The presenting sponsor of the Otesaga Hotel Seniors Open is NBT Bank.

On Wednesday, the three-day Seniors Open, one of the top senior tournaments in the Northeast, begins featuring 91 pros from across the country competing for a $67,750 purse to be awarded to the top finishers at this week’s event. 

But Tuesday belonged to the Pro-Am and more than 100 golfers, including nearly 30 pros, who helped raise funds for Pathfinder Village. More than $2 million has been raised for Pathfinder Village through the years directly benefiting the 80-plus residents of the community.

Professional Scott Spence, a Cooperstown native and Oneonta High School graduate, now living in Westerville, Ohio, led his team to a first-place victory in Tuesday’s Pro-Am. Joining Spence on the winning team: Jim Bugonian, Jim Potts, Peter Severud and Andrew Vilacky. The names of the first-place team will be engraved on the Joseph P. Franzese Memorial Trophy, named after the tournament’s founder.

Second-place finishers were led by pro Joe Clark, Jr., and featured Steve Carl, Rocco Longo, Michael Jones, and Ed Schaffer. Hall of Fame Ambassador Rollie Fingers led his team to a third-place finish, joined by golfers Matt Burrell, Mark deTomaso, Dave Theilman and Tim Wilson.

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

“This year’s field of Pros ranks again near the top of any we’ve ever welcomed to Cooperstown,” said Dan Spooner, Tournament co-chair and director of golf at Leatherstocking Golf Course. “We are so pleased to have Rollie Fingers serve as the Hall of Fame Ambassador for the Pro-Am, with tomorrow’s tournament starting off one of the best three-day golf events in the country.”

The Otesaga Resort Hotel is the tournament’s title sponsor and has been instrumental in the tournament’s success. Located on the shores of beautiful Otsego Lake in Cooperstown, the Otesaga Resort Hotel has been selected as a “Historic Hotel of America” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Overlooking picturesque Otsego Lake, the Otesaga Hotel’s Leatherstocking Golf Course is considered one of the East’s most scenic and historic par-72 layouts. Designed by the legendary Devereux Emmet in 1909, Leatherstocking has been rated “four stars” by Golf Digest’s “Places to Play.”

Tom Eubank of Ellijay, Ga., shot a tournament record-tying 64 in the final round to capture the 2012 Otesaga Hotel Seniors Open. Rains forced the cancellation of the Seniors Open in 2011. The complete list of former champions: 2010: Ed Whitman; 2009: Jeff Roth; 2008: Jerry Tucker; 2007: Scott Spence; 2006: Bobby Heins; 2005: Darrell Kestner; 2004: John Gentile; 2003: Lonnie Nielsen; 2002: Dan Wood; 2001: John Traub; 2000: Paul Parjeckas; 1999: Marty Bohen; 1998: Tony Perla; 1997: John Gentile; 1996: Austin Straub; 1995: Tom Joyce; 1994: Tom Joyce; 1993: Ray Montgomery; 1992: Dave Philo; 1991: Tom Joyce; 1990: Jim Albus; 1989: Dick Sarta; 1988: Pete Hessemer; 1987: Doug Dalziel; 1986: Bob Bruno; 1985: Richard Howell; 1984: Rolland Stafford; 1983: Donald Hoenig.