If you observed Mike Zmetrovich from a distance the last couple weeks and he was walking on air, there was a good reason.
As captain of the title-hungry Tedesco Country Club entry in the Metropolitan Four-Ball League, Zmetrovich was still in celebration mode after he and his 12-man team knocked off Salem Country Club, 46.5 to 43.5, in the championship match at Oakley CC.
That gave Tedesco its first title in the prestigious club league in 44 years. Yep. Tedesco had not finished first since Gerald Ford was president. Meanwhile, Salem had captured the title five times since ‘75 and powerhouse Charles River had won it a league-leading 15 times.
“I woke up the morning after we defeated our good friends from Salem and I realized I had not been dreaming,” exclaimed Zmetrovich, the Haverhill native and former Massachusetts Junior champ who has won club titles at Tedesco and Ireland’s Old Head. “We actually took down our arch rivals (annual Winslow Cup combatants) and friends from Salem with everything on the line.
“I couldn’t be prouder of my fellow teammates who not only played in this memorable match but also my clubmates who have competed for Tedesco in the Met League during my 13 years as captain. This is a real Tedesco family win.”
In the two-man-versus-two-man format, the first two Tedesco teams struggled to finish their matches square. Brad Tufts chipped in on 18 for birdie so that he and Wayne Pettee finished all square with Kevin Daly and Nick Mini. George Zolotas and Brendan Locke won the last two holes to get a halve against Mike McLaughlin-Kevin MacIntyre.
Zmetrovich and Marc Duffy made clutch putts to win three holes the back side to defeat Mike McDougall, Jr.-Damon Wirtanen, in the process gaining five points while Greg Mahan-Matt Barbuzzi routed Jon Nekoroski-Charlie Fox, Jr. Salem’s Matt Nekoroski-Dom Veneziano kept the team match close by making birdie on five of the first seven holes to run away from Chris Smith-Zak Kraft. But Tedesco had the edge when all the points were counted.
Cy Kilgore, 18-time TCC club champ and a Met Four-Ball competitor for decades, was at Oakley to share in the jubilation.
The 1975 championship team had some great players, such as Ted Carangelo, Dick Duffy, Jerry Clement, Brock Hayes, Mike Cronin, Phil Grady, Rev. George Hooten, Giff Wigglesworth, Peter Dalton, Ron Dion, Peter Lynch, Charles Speleiotis, Dr. Emmett Ryan, Bill Crane, Bruce and Don Durkee, Larry Dawson, Al McNulty and Ozzie Keiver.
The assistant course superintendent at Pine Valley Golf Club in Clementon, N.J., becomes the new super at Salem Country Club October 2. Massachusetts native Bill Rocco, 34, returns to his home state with enormous shoes to fill as successor to Kip Tyler, who retires this fall after being on the job at Salem for 38 years and hosting three USGA championships that earned the Ohio native rave reviews from players and officials alike.
“I’ve had an amazing experience at Pine Valley, considered by many as the greatest golf course in the world,” says Rocco, who grew up in Worcester. “I hope to apply all that I have learned under (head PVGC superintendent) Rick Christian these past 10 years at Pine Valley to making Salem an even greater golf course than it already has become under Kip’s leadership.”
Rocco becomes the 12th superintendent in the club’s 124-year history, starting with Charles E. Hinkley (1898-99) and including John O’Connor (1953-72) and Cliff Nunes (1973-81).
Rocco’s philosophy as he begins his first position as the man in charge?
“A great leader is only as good as his crew,” Rocco, a husband (Holly) and father (children 4 and 2), replied. “We all need to love what we’re doing, take pride in our work and our golf course at all times.
“We also need to appreciate Salem’s great history as a championship venue and one of Donald Ross’s finest courses. And remember how great Kip has been for Salem since we want to be equally great for Salem Country Club.”
Rocco also has worked and interned at Eastward Ho! and The Captains on Cape Cod and Plainfield CC, another superb Ross course, in New Jersey.
It is not too late to sign up for the golden anniversary Mike Frangos Commodore Open set for Monday September 16 at Myopia Hunt Club. As the longest running one-day charitable golf tournament in the United States, the event has raised more than $2.5 million for the Danvers-based Northeast Arc.
The Mike Frangos Award, instituted in 2013 to honor an individual or group that has provided outstanding support to the tournament over the years, will be presented at Myopia to the Frangos family on behalf of the late, great founder, Mr. Frangos. Prior recipients have been George Behrakis, Carl Berry, Steve Davidson, Mark Thompson and, in 2018, Margaret Ake.
To enter the 50th annual tournament as a single, twosome, threesome or foursome, or to provide sponsor support, contact Kacy Jauron at KJauron@ne-arc-org.
We mourn the passing of Mary Lou Sirois ... Tom Watson turned 70 on September 4 ... Ferncroft’s Frank Vana, Jr. was the best local finisher at the 59th Massachusetts Seniors at Cohasset, scoring 144, five shots behind second-time winner Jack Kearney of Westover. Indian Ridge’s Jim Staffieri returned 151, Ferncroft’s Ken Whalley 159 and Andover’s Colin Ahern 162.
Bass Rocks’s Todd Scarfoni (66) was best among the locals at the NEPGA Stroke Play Series event at President’s. Kernwood’s Frank Dully and Salem’s Kirk Hanefeld shot 68, as did Gloucester native Dan Gillis.
Reading The Greens is a weekly column on North Shore golf by Gary Larrabee, a former Salem News sports reporter from 1971-95. He has covered golf locally and beyond for the last 50 years.