BRADFORD, Pa. - On Southwestern Central School's first day of football practice Monday, one of its most decorated gridiron alums achieved a first in a different sport.
Chris Stoddard, SWCS Class of 2007 and a record-setting Trojans quarterback, recorded his first victory as a member of the Western New York Professional Golf Association when he carded a 66 to win the pro event of the Pennhills Club Blaisdell Pro-Am Invitational.
Chris Stoddard, pictured above as a freshman at St. Bonaventure in 2007 won his first Western New York Professional Golf Association event Monday at the Pennhills Club Blaisdell Pro-Am Invitational.
P-J file photo
Chris Stoddard, pictured at right as a senior at Southwestern Central School in 2006, won his first Western New York Professional Golf Association event Monday at the Pennhills Club Blaisdell Pro-Am Invitational.
P-J file photo
A $6,000 check.
Stoddard also combined with three others to card a best two of four 115 to claim the team event.
That meant another $400 in the pocket of the Park Country Club assistant pro, who had already cashed a $1,050 check the week before for a second-place finish at a WNYPGA event in Rochester.
"I was really nervous. There was a good field out there and I had to wait it out."
Park Country Club assistant golf pro
"Not bad, not bad at all," Stoddard said Tuesday night, "especially on your day off and you're still making money, which is nice."
Ironically, because he's been so busy at Park, the 2011 St. Bonaventure graduate has only played in four or five WNYPGA events all summer. But upon a return to Pennhills, which is not far from his college alma mater, Stoddard hit the ball well all day and made just enough putts to hold off Kirk Stauffer (68), Alexander Weir (69) and Peek'n Peak's Dwayne Randall (69).
The victory didn't come without its share of nerve-racking moments, however. Reminded by his Park CC boss that he led by three shots with two holes to play, Stoddard finished par-bogey, missing a 12-footer that would have given him a 65 on the afternoon.
"I was really nervous," Stoddard admitted. "There was a good field out there and I had to wait it out."
As often was the case during his days running around the gridiron at Charles A. Lawson Field, Stoddard, who was The Post-Journal's Player of the Year in 2006, came out the winner.
"How can you not think about those good seasons and the camaraderie you had?" Stoddard said rhetorically of his football days under Coach Jay Sirianni.
Stoddard seems to be enjoying his pro golf gig, too. Now in his third season at Park - he works there from mid-April through mid-October - Stoddard will be returning to Fiddler's Creek in Marco Island, Fla. in less than two months for his fourth season.
Until then, there's more work to do and occasional golf tournaments to play.
"I have some confidence," Stoddard, "so I just want to keep it going. That's why I had to practice after work (on Tuesday) to see if I still had it."
And did he?
"Well," he said, "for the most part, yeah."
NOTES: Ryan Swanson, the pro at Pinehurst Golf Club in Westfield, was part of a foursome that tied for third in the team competition with a 128. Swanson, a Sherman native, and Stoddard were teammates for one year with the Bonnies.