Eye on the Ball: Island of champions

COURTESY PHOTO Matthew, left, and Brian Feinstein.
Matthew, left, and Brian Feinstein.

Through the years, Shelter Island has been proud of its golfers. The way this year is panning out, that’s not going to change. Golfers continue to show we can play darn good golf right here on this little island.

Through the years we’ve enjoyed accomplishment after accomplishment and not just on our Island, but throughout the state and country. Just last week 61 year-old Jay Sessa was playing in a national event as the oldest player in the field. The week before that and the week after, Jay “Jake” Card III finished second in two major tournaments.

Try to find another club that had two players competing in the finals of the United States Amateur championships three times each. Look no further than the Gardiner’s Bay Country Club. In the past Rick Southwick and Gary Blados played in the finals of the U.S. Amateur three times each.

Rick even defeated the great Phil Mickelson at the The Honors Course in Tennessee in the quarter finals one year.

Jay Sessa won the Long Island Father & Son Championship twice. Once as a boy with his father, Frank, and once as an adult with son, Reid. Jay Card Jr. and his son Jake also won the Father & Son Championship twice.

As junior golfers go, young Chris Holmes played in the finals of the National Junior Championship while he and his brother, Russell, played for Yale University. And Samantha Sessa is winning award after award for her golf at Gettysburg University.

As a youth, Gary Blados won the Metropolitan Boys Championship. Just last season, high school sophomore Nicholas Young led all qualifiers for the county championships and outscored every player in the league for the entire year.

Our latest accomplishment might be one of the best. On June 1, at a qualifying event held in Virginia for two premier events, the Virginia State Open and at the same time, qualifying for the Virginia State Amateur Championship, were a couple of teenagers living in Virginia and Shelter Island, Brian Feinstein, 15, and Matthew Feinstein, 17.

These events are open to members of all ages, pros and amateurs of the Virginia State Golf Association.

The qualifying spot was the Springfield Country Club in Springfield, Virginia where they were taking just nine qualifiers to go to the finals.

Along with being the two youngest players in the field, Matthew and Brian each shot a one over par round of 72. That round was good enough for them to tie for first place with one other player. For such a superb performance, both players will receive a medal as the on-site qualifying medalists.

The 104th Amateur Championship will be held at The Club at Creighton Farms in Aldie, Virginia from June 27 to July 1, 2017. The Virginia Open Championship will be held over 54 holes from July 20 to 22 at the Ballyhack Golf Club in Roanoke, Virginia.

The good news/bad news was even though he qualified for the state amateur, Matthew will not be able to play in the event. He was honored by the Congressional Country Club to represent it in a match in England that week in the 46-year-old British Swifts and the American School Boy tour.

The tour is 16 days where the boys play many amazing golf courses in central and southern England. Congressional Country Club is allowed one of the eight spots and they offered it to Matthew. Congratulations guys and play well in the tournaments.

On another note: A week ago  I attended opening day of the sixth year of our Shelter Island Bucks baseball team. I was so impressed with the team that I also decided to watch the next two nights. It looks like we’re going to have a great season.

A lot of action took place in this first game as we went on to defeat the Sag Harbor Whalers by a score of 12-2. The following night, the Bucks had a 7-3 victory over the North Fork Ospreys and then we defeated the Riverhead Tomcats 2-1. With a 3-0 start, the Bucks are on their way.

With Jon Kilb doing the announcing for these first two games, you’d think you were at Yankee stadium. We had the reliable Lions Club serving up hamburgers, hot dogs, popcorn and drinks. We were happy to have a good fan base for the opening games. Our new bleachers can hold more people.

Come to Fiske Field and enjoy your Shelter Island Bucks.

Home games this month — June 11 and 25 at 2 p.m. and June13, 14, 20, 21, 22, and 29 at 5 p.m..