34th Annual Otesaga Hotel Seniors Open Begins as Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers Tees Up Pro-Am

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

(COOPERSTOWN, NY) – When Rollie Fingers volunteered to return to Cooperstown for the 34th Annual Otesaga Hotel Senior Open Pro-Am at the Leatherstocking Golf Course, he probably didn’t expect his week to start off with kickball. But Rollie had no issue with it whatsoever.

“We went to the Pathfinder Village yesterday and played kickball,” Fingers explained. “They wore me out, those residents were kicking line drives all over the place. But being out there with them, it’s a constant smile. They are all so happy, it’s a great place.”

With sunny skies and temperatures reaching the 80s, Fingers served as the host of the Pro-Am, which featured more than 75 golfers, including nearly 25 pros, who helped raise funds for Pathfinder Village, a residential community in nearby Edmeston, N.Y., for children and adults with Down syndrome. More than $2.6 million has been raised for Pathfinder Village through the years directly benefiting the 90-plus residents of the community, including $50,000 from the proceeds of Tuesday’s Pro-Am. An additional sum of $12,000 was presented to the Baseball Hall of Fame for its educational programs.

On Wednesday, the three-day Seniors Open, presented by NBT Bank and one of the top senior tournaments in the Northeast, begins featuring nearly 100 top pros from across the country competing for a $75,000 purse to be awarded to the top finishers at this week’s event.

At Tuesday’s Pro-Am, professional Joe Clark Jr. led his team to a first-place victory. Additional members of the winning team included Matt Burell, Mark DeTomaso, Dave Theleman and Tim Wilson. 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 Eddie Kirby and featured John Bailey, Chuck Gaetano, Alan Leist Jr. and Tony Tomaselli.

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

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.”

Craig Thomas of White Plains, N.Y., shot a 9-under par 204 over three rounds to capture the 2015 Otesaga Hotel Seniors Open. The complete list of former champions: 2014: John Elliott; 2013: Jim Chancey; 2012: Tom Eubank; 2011: Tournament canceled due to rain; 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.