SLVFD golf tourney draws 124

SARANAC INN – Saturday’s inaugural fundraising golf tournament for the Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department started in a light rain, which then turned into a heavy downpour. Fortunately, those rains stopped and gave way to windy conditions that chilled a huge field of golfers, but ultimately dried off the soaked golfers on the 18-hole layout at Saranac Inn.

Minus the rain, Chuck Dobson’s plan to hold a fundraiser tournament for Saranac Lake’s fire department turned out to be a great success, as 31 teams and 124 golfers competed in the four-person scramble event for the first time.

“I’ve attended many fire department fundraisers, and Saranac Lake is no different than any other fire department,” said Dobson, who is the chairman of the Saranac Lake department’s sports committee. “We haven’t really done any fundraisers of late, and I thought it would be fun to have a golf tournament. Despite the weather, it was a huge success.”

Two teams emerged as co-champions after turning in 10-under par rounds of 62 on Saranac Inn’s par-72 layout. One squad featured Jim Farnum, Tom Rath, Lee Jopling and Chip Wheeler and the other included John and Brian Morgan, Eddie Gibbs and Bob Modiszenski.

There was talk about having a playoff to determine a single champion after all the scores were turned in, but after a day playing in tough conditions, the decision to have co-winners stuck.

Following the tournament, which was the first in the Tri-Lakes area this season, a barbecue and awards ceremony were held at the Saranac Inn clubhouse.

The tournament drew a strong representation of golfers from Saranac Lake and Lake Placid, where Dobson is a sergeant in that village’s police department. Firefighters from across the North Country, including a group from Potsdam and another from Burke, entered teams in the field. Dobson estimated the event raised more than $4,000 for the department.

“It was by design that I wanted this to be one of the first tournaments of the season and I wanted it just before black fly season,” Dobson said. “Hopefully, chances are 100 percent that we’ll have it again next year. As long as Saranac Inn would like to host us again, we plan to be back. Hopefully, we won’t be playing in the rain next time.”