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Stroke of green-ius

Brooklyn Daily
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They hit the sweet spot alright.

More than a hundred golf nuts hit the links for the third annual Brooklyn Open Golf Championship at the Marine Park Golf Course on Oct. 9. The course — one of two public greens in Brooklyn — is a joy no matter how many times you tee off there, one seasoned expert said.

“I’ve played 848 different golf courses in my life, and, while I won’t put this in the top, for a municipal course in the City of New York, it’s very enjoyable,” said Hank Gola, a former golf correspondent for the Daily News, who participated in the tournament. “It’s not something you get tired of playing.”

In fact, the Marine Park course is so swanky it lured a professional from tony Westchester County — home to six municipal golf courses and a handful of private links — to the tourney. And the course is apparently intuitive — the out-of-towner took the top prize in the tourney’s pro division in a record-breaking 67 strokes, which put him five under at a par-72 championship course that he had exactly zero experience with, he said.

“It’s an awesome course, and I kind of winged it,” said champion Jonathan Renza. “I didn’t know where the trouble spots were, because this was my first time seeing it.”

Renza’s strategy — almost Zen-like in its simplicity — secured his inspiring victory, he said.

“It’s golf,” he said. “You just have to get the ball in the hole as quickly as possible.”

The Westchester pro suffered a setback when he bogeyed the par-4 third hole, but rebounded with six birdies throughout the match.

In his most spectacular play of the tournament, Renza sunk an 11th-hole putt from 25 feet, giving him the momentum he needed to finish one under par for the next four holes and surpass the former Brooklyn Open Championship best by two strokes.

Renza revelled in the win, which didn’t shock him even though it was his first time on the course.

“Winning this tournament feels good,” said Renza. “I’ve been playing well for days leading up to this. I’m not going to say I’m surprised I shot well.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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