Top Senior Pro Golfers Return to Cooperstown for 29th Annual Otesaga Hotel Seniors Open, Sept. 6-9

Hall of Famer Johnny Bench to Serve as Celebrity Host; Proceeds Benefit Pathfinder Village

August 16, 2011
Hall of Famer Johnny Bench will be the celebrity host for the 29th Annual Otesaga Hotel Seniors Open and Pro-Am Golf Tournament. (Milo Stewart Jr./NBHOF)

COOPERSTOWN, NY – Cooperstown is where baseball's heart beats the strongest every day of the year.

But for one week in September, some of the top senior golfers in the country help turn the home of baseball into a golfer's paradise at the Otesaga Hotel Seniors Open.

The 29th Annual Otesaga Hotel Seniors Open and Pro-Am Golf Tournament will be held Sept. 6-9 at the Leatherstocking Golf Course in Cooperstown. Proceeds from this event benefit Pathfinder Village – located in nearby Edmeston – a residential community dedicated to children and adults with Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities. Annually, the Seniors Open raises more than $50,000 for scholarships for Pathfinder Village and directly helps the Village's 90-plus residents. More than $1.5 million has been raised for Pathfinder Village through the years.

Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench, the former Cincinnati Reds backstop who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1989, will be the celebrity host at the 29th Annual Otesaga Hotel Seniors Open and Pro-Am Golf Tournament.

Bench, a two-time National League Most Valuable Player and 14-time All-Star, will serve as host of the Pro-Am Sept. 6 and play during the tournament, as well as speak at the evening dinner following the event. The Pro-Am teams feature four amateurs and one professional in a two-man, best-ball format that begins with an 11:30 a.m. shotgun start. For more information on the Pro-Am or to reserve a spot, please visit www.pathfindervillage.org .

"Johnny Bench is a long-time supporter of the Otesaga Hotel Seniors Open, and we are so grateful that he will be in Cooperstown to support this wonderful event," said Dan Spooner, Leatherstocking's host golf professional and co-chair of the event, along with Daryl Forsythe, chairman of NBT Bancorp, Inc. "The Seniors Open attracts many of the top senior PGA club professionals from throughout the country, and we are thrilled that Johnny – who is a very talented golfer – will be a part of the action."

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.

The presenting sponsor for the 2011 tournament is NBT Bank.

Platinum sponsors for the 2011 tournament are Coca-Cola Refreshments and Strategic Financial Services, LLC, of Utica.

The three-day 2011 Otesaga Hotel Seniors Open runs Wednesday, Sept. 7 through Friday, Sept. 9. The Seniors Open is one of the country's top non-PGA tournaments, featuring nearly 100 pros. 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."

In addition to Pathfinder Village, proceeds from the tournament also benefit the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum's educational programs, which enable the world-famous Museum to fulfill its educational mission and care for its collections.

In 2010, Ed Whitman of Blairstown, N.J., won the Seniors Open with a three-day total of 202. The complete list of former champions: 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.