Sandberg, Golfers score for charity at Otesaga Pro-Am

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

Ryne Sandberg gazed out at Cooperstown’s historic Leatherstocking Golf Course and smiled.

“A perfect day in a perfect place,” said Sandberg, who returned to Cooperstown to play in Tuesday’s 33rd Annual Otesaga Hotel Seniors Open Pro-Am.

With sunny skies and midsummer-like temperatures reaching the 90s, Sandberg served as the host of the Pro-Am, which featured more than 100 golfers, including nearly 30 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 million has been raised for Pathfinder Village through the years directly benefiting the 80-plus residents of the community, including $50,000 from the proceeds of Tuesday’s Pro-Am. An additional sum of $12,500 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 83 pros from across the country competing for a $65,000 purse to be awarded to the top finishers at this week’s event.

At Tuesday’s Pro-Am, professional Alex Romanoff led his team to a first-place victory. Additional members of the winning team included George Busch, Fred Schneider and Ernie Weeks. 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 Scott Spence and featured Jim Bugonian, Jim Potts, Peter Severud and Andrew Vilacky.

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

“We are thrilled to have Ryne Sandberg back in Cooperstown as the Hall of Fame ambassador of the Otesaga Hotel Seniors Open Pro-Am,” said Dan Spooner, Tournament co-chair and director of golf at Leatherstocking Golf Course. “For a third of a century, this tournament has attracted the best senior pros to Central New York and supported the courageous and inspiring residents at Pathfinder Village as well as the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.”

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.”

John Elliott of Westerly, R.I., shot a 7-under par 206 over three rounds to capture the 2014 Otesaga Hotel Seniors Open. The complete list of former champions: 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.

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