Viola wins Dutchess County Amateur Tournament then gets engaged


Brian Viola, surprisingly, had never trained for this. He had known for months that he might end up in this position, but he figured his instincts alone would be enough.

As he stood in front of a large audience, the pressure mounting, the moment became “more nerve-wracking” than the longtime golfer could have imagined.

“‘Oh my God, you’re not,'” Christina Herchenroder recalls watching him closely. “But he was fluid and executed it well. The performance was definitely a 10 out of 10.”

Yes of course. She said yes.”

Viola kept a promise and delivered what was his proudest achievement to date, proposing to his girlfriend as a crowd of friends, relatives and golfers cheered.

“Besides being born,” the 36-year-old said, “it’s up there with the best days of my life.”

The golf tournament he won that night became the icing on his Sunday cake.

Before presenting Herchenroder with a sparkling engagement ring, Viola also received a piece of hardware he will treasure, hoisting the championship trophy at the Dutchess County Amateur Golf Tournament.

He totaled 4 under 212 during the three-day competition at McCann Memorial Golf Course in Poughkeepsie to win the title for the first time since 2012. Viola shot a 67 on Sunday to shoot from behind in the third round and overtake collegiate standout Erik Stauderman and Dan Gabel, who was going for a career-high seventh victory in this tournament.

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“Having wins here 10 years apart is pretty cool,” said the Poughkeepsie native. “I was a pro for seven years, but becoming an amateur again really helped me find my passion for the game. I’m very happy with how it turned out.

Poughkeepsie native Brian Viola lifts the championship trophy after winning the Dutchess County Amateur Golf Tournament on July 10, 2022.

Stauderman, a former high school star from Spackenkill, shot a 216 and shot an even 72 in every round. Gabel totaled 217, including a 2 under in the second round. Luke Whalen had a 219 for fourth place, Mark Yan followed with a 222 and Josh Yan with a 223.

Viola pulled away on the back nine. He birdied the 12th hole, which helped him offset a bogey on the 10th. On the 15th, he came within eight feet on a 60-foot putt and drained the second to make the par.

This victory, he said, was dedicated to four loved ones who have died in recent years. In his thoughts over time, his grandmothers, Nancy O’Shea and Gwen Viola, as well as Ralph DeStefano and Art Smith, revered local golfers whom he saw as beloved mentors.

“These people have made me a better person and a better golfer,” he said. “I wanted them to be proud of me.”

Viola thought there was a chance he was in the lead or near the lead before 17e hole, but the live dashboard took a while to update. It wasn’t until later, when he was 18, that he checked the standings on his phone and realized he was ahead by four strokes.

Brian Viola prepares to attempt a short putt during the Dutchess County Amateur Golf Tournament on Sunday.

This obviously helped Viola make McCann her home run since childhood. He also worked there as a club professional before briefly moving to Florida in 2021 and knows virtually every blade of grass.

“I worked and played there for 26 years, I know it very well,” said Viola, who thanked club pro Chris Kemble and his team for maintaining the course. “There was definitely a level of comfort and a certain confidence, knowing that I needed a good score to win.”

He figured there would be a level of comfort in asking the question, given the familiarity with his now-fiancé. He and Herchenroder had been friends for more than a decade and when they started dating, she says, Viola told her he hoped to eventually marry her.

The plan he devised in the spring was to win the Dutchess Amateur and, during the excitement, come up with the 18e hole. But he wasn’t in the final group on Sunday, so there was a pivot needed.

“I gave a speech after the tournament and said, ‘I wanted to propose today, but it didn’t go as I expected and I’m sorry,'” he said. declared. “I gave her the wrong direction and she believed me.”

He then raced to retrieve the ring, which he had hidden in his father’s house nearby, before heading to the Pirate Canoe Club, where the winner is traditionally celebrated with dinner and drinks.

Brian Viola proposes to his girlfriend, Christina Herchenroder, at the Pirate Canoe Club in Poughkeepsie after winning the Dutchess County Amateur Golf Tournament on Sunday.

As he posed for photos with his family and other golfers, he called one for himself and his girlfriend. As Herchenroder smiled for the photo, Viola knelt down to place the trophy on the floor and remained in that position. She gasped when he started to speak.

“I couldn’t have asked for it to go any better,” the Wappingers Falls native said. “I was already incredibly happy that he won, and then I found out that I could spend the rest of my life with him. It’s the best day of my life.

It’s an ace.

Stephen Haynes: [email protected]; 845-437-4826; Twitter: @StephenHaynes4

Complete List of Dutchess County Amateur Champions

2022: Brian Viola

2021: Dan Gabel

2020: Dan Gabel

2019: Dan Gabel

2018 Nick Dilio

2017 Nick Dilio

2016 Nick Dilio

2015 Nick Dilio

2014 Mike Fisher

2013 Nick Dilio

2012 Brian Viola

2011 Mike Fisher

2010 Dan Gabel

2009Chris Sanger

2008Mike Fisher

2007Jim Hilaire

2006 Dan Gabel

2005 Dan Gabel

2004Steve Nosonowitz

2003Mike Flynn

2002Mike Flynn

2001Steve Nosonowitz

2000Steve Nosonowitz

1999Terry Walsh

1998Terry Walsh

1997 Bruce Aubin

1996 Bruce Aubin

1995Dave Jensen

1994Craig Busby

1993Terry McGinnis

1992Steve Nosonowitz

1991Harold Girdlestone

1990Harold Girdlestone

1989Ed Boone

1988 Bruce Aubin

1987Harold Girdlestone

1986Harold Girdlestone

1985Jim Bernard

1984 Bruce Aubin

1983 Bob Botsford

1982Ed Burke

1981 Bruce Aubin

1980 Ralph DeStefano

1979 Bruce Aubin

1978 Ralph DeStefano

1977 Ralph DeStefano

1976Bruce Simmons

1975 Bob Boschan

1974Georges Pacheco

1973Dick Jamieson

1972Brad Davis

1971 Heinz Mews

1951Johnny Cwik

1950Joe Vallo

1949Jack Yank

1948Jack Yank

1947 Dean Lucarini

1946 Ray Billows

1936 Ray Billows


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