We are the Champions!

From first-time surprise victors to multiple title holders, Westchester’s club champions are all winners.


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Salem GC, North Salem

 

Jeanine Nadler

won her first championship in 2015 in extra holes but closed out her defense in 2016 on the 16th hole. Her secret? “I am tenacious — I never give up,” she says. “I like match play because you can blow up on a hole, and it’s just one hole; you move on. I’m not the most consistent of golfers, so it’s nice to be able to take it hole by hole.” Her mindset is perfectly suited to the game. “Golf is a never-ending challenge that lets you continually strive to improve.”

Evan Kass 

has been closing in on the club championship since he won the A flight four years ago. “Once I won that, I decided I might as well go into the championship to compete with the best,” he explains. “I got beat in early rounds time and again, but I was learning from the opportunity.” In 2016, he won his first match 2 and 1, then won his quarterfinal with a 30-ft. putt on the 18th hole. “The stars were aligned, and a lot of good things came my way. I was pretty steady in the final match and made some putts that were so long, they were silly.”

 


Wykagyl CC, New Rochelle

 

 

Jared Haines 

notched his first club championship at Wykagyl last year. “It was definitely the best round I ever played,” he says. “I have to give my kids, Carly and Devon, at least some credit for my win. I spent more time on the range and short-game area working with them than I ever did before. It paid off.” It also paid off for 15-year-old Carly, who made it to the semifinals of the women’s club championship last year in her first attempt.

 

 

 

 

 

Julie Hansen 

won her first club championship in 2016 in a match she termed a war of attrition. “I played the nine-time club champion, and our match went to the 16th hole,” she says. “She is always a worthy competitor, and it was back and forth quite a bit.” Hansen is a fierce competitor who enjoys recreational golf, as well. “I’ve had some of my best rounds in tournaments, but sometimes you have those magical rounds, playing with friends, and that’s great fun.”

 

 

 

 

 


GlenArbor GC, Bedford

 

 

Gale Brudner 

has won 26 — yes, 26! — championships, at three different clubs, including 13 at GlenArbor. “Golf has been a great sport for me,” she says with plenty of understatement. “I’ve played with some of the best women golfers, amateur and pro, in the US. I don’t play at that level, but I met them in tournaments and have maintained friendships with them to this day.” She reports she once lost a club championship to LPGA star Morgan Pressel (who was then 13 years old) at Banyon GC in West Palm Beach. “I think I took her to the 15th hole, and I was quite proud of it!”

 

 

 

 


Ned Zachar 

has hoisted the men’s championship trophy at GlenArbor a dozen times, including one stretch of eight consecutive years. He’s done the same at courses across the country since he won his first junior title in his hometown of Cedar Rapids in 1979. “When I got to match play at the US Mid-Amateur in 2014, it showed me I could compete at a national level,” he says. “I turn 55 this year, so that opens up a wider range of tournaments, like the USGA Senior Amateur. The MGA Senior Am is the first thing on my radar screen this year.”

 

 

 


Scarsdale GC, Scarsdale

 

Jay Allen 

came to Scarsdale from Texas to win his first club championship at age 14. His parents moved to Scarsdale and joined the club last year, so he could continue the sport he started at the First Tee of Austin. “I was really surprised by the win. I wasn’t really expecting much, since I hadn’t been playing very well before then,” he says. His first two matches were close, but the final was a classic that went five extra holes before it was decided on the downhill par-3 5th hole at Scarsdale. “I had a 15-footer for par, and he had an eight-footer. I made; he missed.”   

 

 

Marina Unis 

took up golf with her husband, an orthopedic surgeon, to escape the pressures of their professional lives. “I fell in love with the game instantly. I wasn’t good at it at all,” she says. She obviously got better — a lot better: Her win in 2016 marked her sixth club championship. Chipping is the strength of her game, she says, as well as an unflappable demeanor. “My husband says he never knows from my face whether I won or lost.”

 


Bonnie Briar CC, Larchmont

 

 

Betsy Fosina 

never stopped competing and finally claimed her first championship title last year. “I lost three years ago in the finals to the nine-time club champ. I lost in the semifinals to my very good friend in 2015, but I ended up winning in 2016,” she says. “I do a lot of practicing, but what really helped me tremendously was a clinic I took on the Aim Point putting method.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeremy Court

took up golf seriously as a teenager in 2012. That was also the first year he qualified for the club championship, although he was eliminated in the first round. Last year, at 22, he won his first championship. “It was awesome!” he says. “There were a lot of people watching, and it always feels good to win.” Court was a competitive tennis player through college and says the experience helped him prepare mentally for the tournament. Although he says he never had any golf lessons, “I try to practice a couple of nights a week. The week before match play began, I spent time every evening, chipping and putting, just to get ready.”  

 

 


Century CC, Purchase

 

 

Natalie Grainger

is a multi-sport threat, having played professional squash on the world tour for 15 years. “I was exposed to golf by family members,” she says, “but I really took it up when I retired from the squash tour in 2010.” The native of South Africa joined Century five years ago and won her first club championship in 2014. She couldn’t play in 2015 but won the title back in 2016. Her years of athletic competition helped immensely. “Playing in front of a crowd brings out the exhibitionist in me,” she laughs. “When you stand on the first tee, you have to go into performance mode. You have to convince yourself you’re going to be amazing!” 

 

 

 

 

Michael Savitt

comes from a family of tennis stars who include 1951 Wimbledon champion Dick Savitt, but says he got turned on to golf after his freshman year in high school. Now a junior at Duke, he won the 2015 MGA Ike Team Championship with Sam Bernstein, then captured his first men’s championship at Century last year. The tournament had some interesting twists. “I played my older brother, Matthew, in the first round,” he explains. “It was a little awkward, but it was a great experience.” 

 

 

 


Photographs by John Fortunato

 

 

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