Vanelli Leads Player of the Year
With only a handful of official events left on the “official” list for the MGA Jerry Courville Sr. Player of the Year, fifty-seven year old Ron Vannelli has positioned himself at the top of the standings following another outstanding performance this past week at the USGA Senior Amateur Championship. If Vannelli hangs on to the top spot in what has become the closest race in years, he could become the oldest winner in the 27-year history of the award.
Vannelli began the week in second place in the standings, just six points behind Brad Tilley of Sleepy Hollow, but took over the lead after winning two matches at the U.S. Senior Amateur at The Farm in Georgia. His performance, which included victories over John DiMuccio of Pennsylvania in 20 holes, and two-time Walker Cup captain Danny Yates 4&2 in earlier rounds, puts his total at 659 points giving him a 54 point edge over Tilley, and 82 points ahead of nine-time Player of the Year George Zahringer who stands at 577 points. Met Open Champion John Stoltz of Concord is in fourth with 555 points. Only four events – NYSGA Mid Amateur, the Boff Memorial, Mid Atlantic Amateur and the Nassau Inviational - remain as qualifying events on the MGA points list and will all be completed by October 2nd.
If Vannelli’s lead holds up he will get into the record books for a second time this year. In August he became the oldest winner of The Met Amateur in the 103 year history of the event when he defeated Miniseongo’s Patrick Pierson on the second extra hole in the finals at The Creek Club in Locust Valley NY. The same week he qualified for both the U.S. Mid Amateur and U.S. Senior Amateur and before the month was out, has made the cut at the Met Open and came within a shot of winning the Met Senior Open at The Tuxedo Club on August 30th. Next week he will be representing New Jersey at the USGA State Team Chanmpionships at Berkeley Hall.
For updated information of the 2005 Player of the Year, Met Area results and the USGA State Team Championships check www.mgagolf.org.