Qualifiers headed to The Lake Club today


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Qualifiers headed to The Lake Club today

By Greg Gulas | sports@vindy.com

Joey Cilone has been a mark of consistency through the first two rounds of this year’s Farmers National Bank Greatest Golfer of the Valley Championship.

Toni Notaro will need to be just as consistent as she tries to hold off the charging Angela Molaskey in ladies division action.

Cilone posted a second straight 69 for 138 as he opened a three-shot lead over Scott Porter — both were tied at 69 after Thursday’s opening round — in the Pete Mollica Men’s Open division. Molaskey, who was one stroke off the pace after Thursday’s 75, shot an 80. Notaro came in with a 76 to open a five-stroke lead (155-150) over Molaskey.

Cilone played Tippecanoe Country Club on Saturday, registering six birdies and nine pars. This year marks his third appearance in the Greatest. He lost in a playoff in 2016.

He feels that he needs to eliminate the three bogeys from Saturday’s round if he expects to hoist the trophy in his division.

“Yesterday I only hit three fairways in opening-round play. Today, I only missed three and that was the difference,” Cilone said. “That set me up for better shots and some better overall looks. I got off the tee better and my irons were good, which put me in decent putting position. If I can add another 69 on Sunday to go with my first two rounds, then I will be a very happy guy.”

Scott Jones is currently in third-place at 143, five strokes off the pace after carding 71.

Brandon Pluchinsky, who won back-to-back titles in 2016 and 2017, failed to make the cut but fully understands that you must bring your “A” game each time you hit the course.

“It’s disappointing because I would have loved to be playing on Sunday,” Pluchinsky said. “You must go out every day and perform and this just wasn’t my weekend. Golf is a very humbling game, but I will look forward to getting back next year.”

While Notaro and Molaskey are the top two ladies division low gross leaders, the top two net leaders are Abby Cook (80-84—164) and Pam Porter (95-88—183).

“I definitely left some shots on the course and cannot do that on Sunday,” said Molaskey, who played at Tippecanoe Country Club. “I had one birdie and a couple doubles that I wasn’t too happy about. My putting saved me more than once. During Sunday’s finals, if I keep my drives on the fairway and hit my greens then I should be all right.”

Dick Marlowe, long considered one of the best all-around athletes ever to come out of the Mahoning Valley, shot a 71 on Saturday and at 146 holds a two-shot lead over childhood pal Glenn Milton (74-74—148).

Chuck Montgomery (74-77—151) is five strokes off the pace.

Marlowe has played in all nine Greatest events and made it to the finals eight times. His best finish was second the first year in 2010.

“Glenn and I have been friends for over 55 years. We were neighbors as kids, played on the Springfield Local Tigers golf team and he was my blocker when we played touch football,” Marlowe said. “I could never root against Glenn. Overall, being able to hang in there when adversity hits was helpful. I was able to dodge any big problems.”

Boardman’s Frank Petrillo, who is playing in his first Greatest event, holds a three-stroke lead (78-77—155) over Dan Diloreto (77-81—158) in the 7-10 division.

“Avalon was more challenging as the greens were more undulated. I just got lucky up and down and had a lot of par saves from six feet out,” Petrillo said. “I am really excited to go to the finals and feel like another day in the 70s should keep me in the hunt. I’ve never played The Lake Club and have heard the greens are speedy, so I am looking forward to Sunday’s finals.”

Vindicator Editor Todd Franko continues to marvel at the camaraderie among all golfers.

“It’s just a fulfilling experience to see Mother Nature and the golf community come together to make sure that this happens,” Franko said. “The golfers are great to see and we’re just happy to be a part of it all.”

Other leaders include Kevin Tournoux (74-78—152) who holds a four-stroke lead over Rob Venrose (77-79—156), Ryan Homer (81-75—156) and Ron Hunter (78-78—156) in 3-6 action and Josh Randolph (78-81—159) with a three-stroke lead over Joe Mosca (81-81—162) in the 11-13 division.

John Rudolph (87-74—161) improved 13 strokes from Friday’s opening round to lead both Bradley Koch (84-78—162) and Joshua Marsh (87-75—162) by a stroke in 14-16 action while in 17-21 play, Jay Moore (84-83—167) holds a four-shot lead over Joe Fanto (83-88—171), Friday’s leader in the 17-21 division.

“It’s an absolute pleasure to work with Todd Franko and Ted Suffolk. Today we hosted two of the most popular divisions and had 94 players competing to see if they could make it to Sunday’s finals at The Lake Club,” said Adam Schuster, Avalon Golf and Country Club professional. “We got lucky with the weather. It’s an honor to be considered one of the top courses in the Mahoning Valley to play host to the Greatest.”

Joe Bellino (70-75—145) holds a one-stroke lead over Rocco Gennaro (72-76—148) in senior 7-11 action, Bob Chenet (79-79—158) holds a one-shot lead over Fred Fisher (83-76—159) in the senior 12-plus division. Rounding out the leaderboard is Bob Leonard (71-70—141), who has a comfortable 11-stroke cushion over Skip Watt (70-82—152) in the super senior division.

The 54-hole Farmers National Bank Greatest Golfer of the Valley Championships conclude today at The Lake Club in Poland.

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