Picture-Perfect Saturday In Ellicottville
D’Angelo Wins Second IA, This Time With Stronz
ELLICOTTVILLE — The formal photo opportunity complete, Tim D’Angelo turned around, pulled out his cellphone and pointed it toward the scoreboard that stood at one end of the deck at Holiday Valley Lodge.
Jason Stronz, D’Angelo’s playing partner in the 50th Italian-American Charity Golf Tournament, then turned to a nearby observer and whispered, “Now that’s a good photo.”
Indeed it was.
For if a picture is worth a thousand words, then the strip of cardboard that appeared under “overall champions,” certainly had a story to tell, especially for D’Angelo, who now has two championships to his credit after he and Stronz fired a final-round, best-ball 64 on Saturday. When combined with their first two rounds of 63 and 61, their 188 total was just enough to hold off the team of Jon Scalise and Kurt Eimiller, who finished with a 67-58-64-189 for runner-up honors.
“I’m going to tell you, we didn’t have a lot of doubt we were going to win after the front side,” D’Angelo said. “We shot 6-under, so we weren’t losing ground to anybody.”
On the back, the tandem shot even par, highlighted by D’Angelo’s 5 (net 4) on the 18th, and final, hole.
“I was in the creek, I got a drop and dropped it 8 feet past the hole,” D’Angelo said. “Jason had a 20-footer and he knocked it down to 2 feet. One of the putts had to go in.”
“I was happy his went in,” Stronz said. “Not because I didn’t feel comfortable about mine, but the way he played today, he deserved to have that putt go in.”
D’Angelo’s demeanor after the ball found the bottom of the cup didn’t change at all, but for good reason.
“I didn’t know that was for a win,” he admitted.
Added Stronz: “I knew, but I knew he didn’t want to know, so I kept it to myself. It was just nice to see that one hit the cup for him. He was doing it all day on the front.”
But the D’Angelo-Stronz victory meant more than the hardware the men took home with them, especially for D’Angelo, whose history with the tournament goes back decades when his late father, Tom, played.
“Starting out when I was a kid, and then truly participating as a bartender at Restivo’s Alibi for committee meetings, to working with Pete Hubbell (of WJTN Radio) at Peek’n Peak, to now what has been an unbelievable run at Holiday Valley.”
In addition to his two titles — the first one was with partner Jeff Keppel in 2006 — D’Angelo’s middle brother, Todd, has also claimed two victories. Youngest brother, Tom, didn’t play this year, but he was there rooting Tim on while sporting the hat that their father used to wear when he teed it up for the IA. Meanwhile, Tim, Todd and Tom’s uncle, Ralph D’Angelo, followed in a cart, watching all 18 holes.
Asked what winning the tournament means to him, especially in the 50th year, Tim D’Angelo admitted it was significant, but added, “They’re all unbelievable.”
“As amateur golfers, this is a major,” he said. “We just wanted to be in contention. … It takes a while to sink in.”
“We’re still speechless,” Stronz said.
The flight winners were Adam Mason and Pat MacIntyre, 62-67-62-191 in the First Flight; Tony Vitello and John Deppas, 64-62-64-190, in the Second Flight; Dave Foti and Nick Madden, 65-63-62-190 in the Third Flight; Dave Munella and Dave Currie, 67-67-58-192, in the Fourth Flight; Phil Ribaudo and Bill Bernard, 68-64-65-197 in the Fifth Flight; John L. LaMancuso and Mike Roberts, 70-64-67-201 in the Sixth Flight; and Todd Frangione and Mark Tarbrake, 74-70-69-213 in the Seventh Flight.
“Over the years, the committee has perfected running the tournament,” said George Panebianco, IA chairman. “To have this many teams all in contention and have this tight of a tournament shows how hard they work to get the handicaps correct. And for all of us, it’s great to have this competitive tournament, but it’s also great to spend time together with friends and family, and then raise money for cancer and other causes.”
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the cancellation of last year’s event, Panebianco said that 2021 has been the most successful fundraising year in the last decade, bringing the total amount raised the last half-century to $1.5 million.
“Go and ask the original committee people,” he said. “They wouldn’t even think this was going to last five years or 10 years. To go 50 years and have everyone’s support in the year of a pandemic where businesses are struggling, and to raise this kind of money for our local cancer charities, is just great.”