Miloro wins top flight at men’s golf club championships
Back in the mid-1970s, when he was on the cusp of becoming a teenager, John Miloro would tape some golf clubs to the handlebars of his bicycle and join friends for the seven-mile ride to a par-three course in Purchase, N.Y.
“They had a driving range, and the owner let us hit any balls we found in the woods,” Miloro said. “That was how I started playing golf.”
More than 40 years later, Miloro is still playing ... better than he ever has.
In August, Miloro defeated Steve Haberlein by a score of 4 & 3 to win the championship flight in the Ridgefield Men’s Golf Club’s annual club championship tournament at the Ridgefield Golf Course. It was the first title for Miloro, whose previous best finishes were a pair of quarterfinal losses.
“I’ve gotten a lot more consistent,” Miloro said. “Steve hits the ball much farther than I do, so I knew I had to focus on hitting fairways and staying out of trouble.”
Miloro’s victory capped a tourney run that included an opening-round win on the 19th hole and a quarterfinal triumph over two-time champion John Maiolo.
“I had lost to John twice before [in the tournament],” Miloro said. “So beating him in the quarterfinals gave me a little confidence.”
Trailing on the back nine, Miloro rallied to beat John Strein in the semifinals, winning the match on the final hole.
In the finals, Miloro went to the back nine with a three-hole lead over Haberlein. He then won the 10th hole — sinking a birdie putt after Haberlein made a 35-foot putt for par — to go up four holes.
One of Miloro’s few errant shots landed him in a sand trap on the 12th hole, and Haberlein drained a putt for par to trim Miloro’s lead to three holes.
After Miloro made a 14-foot putt for a birdie to win the 13th hole, Haberlein took the 14th hole with a par.
A nice drive down the middle of the fairway left Miloro about 175 yards from the hole on 15, and his second shot landed smack in the middle of the green. He then two-putted for a par, and when Haberlein missed a fairly long par putt Miloro had an insurmountable four-hole lead with three holes remaining.
“I’ve been a member of the men’s club for about 18 years and I’ve played in the club championships maybe 10 or 12 times,” Miloro said. “There are a lot of good players, and it’s a fairly hard event to win. You have to play four good rounds against tough competition.”
Miloro said he benefited from more time on the course this summer.
“In the past, I usually played on Saturdays and Sunday,” he said. “But with the kids being older and me working from home, because of the coronavirus, I was able get in three or four rounds per week.
“The extra time helped my game improve,” Miloro added, “and it was also a nice break from all the stressful stuff going on.”
Notes: Stuart Benway defeated Dan Scalzi to win the first flight, and Rich Marra beat Richard Stenhouse to win the second flight.