"I'm very pleased that everything turned out really great," said Nersessian, who coaches the Weehawken High School golf team along with Zucconi and who provides free lessons to aspiring golfers. "So many golfers won prizes and trophies. We had fathers and sons playing, mothers and daughters. It was a family oriented event and a lot of fun."
The trophy for Weehawken's all-around best golfer went to newcomer Ben DeBlock, who shot a 74. DeBlock works at the Chart House Restaurant and was playing with their group.
"He was a last-minute addition and ended up winning the whole thing," Nersessian said. "That's a very good score."
It's a family affair
Erika Zucconi, the daughter of the councilman, was the top female performer, shooting an 86. Zucconi posted the top female gross round in 2005 at the first Weehawken Open, but relinquished that title last year to her mother, Loretta. Playing in a foursome with her mother, father and Nersessian, Erika Zucconi was able to bring the trophy back home to the obvious first family of Weehawken golf.
"I was out of commission last year, so I let my mother win," Zucconi laughed. "It felt good to be back out there again this year with everyone. I've been playing with Dad since I was a little girl, so this was a good way to get out with my family and just have fun. It's a very nice day. You see a lot of new faces, young adults who are getting into the game of golf and that's encouraging. The people socialize and the kids have a good time." Zucconi said that the tournament will only encourage more young golfers to participate in the sport.
"Growing up, I played golf, but I didn't have anything like this," Zucconi said. "The kids actually want to play golf now and want to be there. I think a day like this is fun for both the adults and the kids."
Best young golfer
For the second straight year, Kevin Hegarty was the recipient of the Mayor's Trophy, given to the best youth performer. Hegarty, the best golfer on the Weehawken High School team, who earned All-BCSL honors in the spring, shot a 79.
"I just wanted to have fun with my family," said Hegarty, who will begin his senior year at Weehawken High School next month. "That was the key, having a great time with my family. I love playing golf. Usually, when I play in the spring, there's always pressure to do well. This was just for fun. I felt like this was the best round of my life. But having fun was more important than anything."
Kevin played with his father, Steve, a North Hudson Regional Fire & Rescue firefighter, and Marlene, who works at Weehawken High. Marlene Hegarty won an award for being the most honest golfer.
Anthony Keating took home the prize for having the low net score, which combined real score with the course handicap, among the men. Kathy Bradley won the low net award among the women.
"Both were shocked that they actually won awards," Nersessian said.
The low net student awards went to Richie Turner, the son of Mayor Richard Turner, and Nate Keating, the son of the low net score winner. Both received free rounds of golf, donated by Housing Authority chairman Robert DiVincent.
Mayor Turner was on hand for the day, but he didn't dare try to put a golf club in his hand.
"I drove around," Turner said. "I was Richie's caddy. I gave out the awards. But I am not playing." Still, Turner had a great time.
"It's really become the type of event that truly gets the community together," Turner said. "We got a good group of people from Weehawken who got together on a nice day to play a great sport. It's another recreational activity that didn't exist a few years ago, but with the work of Carnig and Bob, the town has truly embraced the sport of golf. It just adds to a well-rounded recreational offering that we provide."
Turner applauded the efforts of organizers Nersessian and Zucconi, who have now become best friends in golf. "They really do an outstanding job putting this together," Turner said. "They volunteer their time teaching the kids the sport, and Bob Zucconi takes the time to hand make clubs for kids who can't afford them. It's no longer an activity that requires a lot of money to play. The sport has changed and encourages all walks of life to participate, thanks to Tiger Woods. It has changed the way people think about golf."
Nersessian is impressed with the way the tournament continues to grow. The Weehawken Open might have been held some 60 miles from the township, but on Thursday, avid golfers packed up and headed to Sussex County. "It really was a great day," Nersessian said. "It's going to keep going and I'm very proud of that."
Jim Hague can be reached via e-mail at either OGSMAR@aol.com or firstname.lastname@example.org