Shared from the 7/29/2021 Albany Times Union eEdition


Heidi Harkins wins first championship

Former Siena star shoots second straight 80

Lori Van Buren / Albany Times Union

Heidi Harkins hits a tee shot during the final round on Wednesday. Harkins won the championship.

Lori Van Buren

/ Albany Times Union Rachel Barlette putts onto the green from the fringe during the final round in Voorheesville.



Her days as a Siena basketball point guard seem far removed — and at 35 years since her graduation, they are — but Heidi Harkins is showing prowess at another sport these days.

Harkins, a member of the Siena Athletics Hall of Fame who was the school’s career assists leader when she left in 1984, won her first Northeastern Women’s Golf Association individual title Wednesday at Colonie Golf and Country Club.

For the second straight day, Harkins, a member at Ballston Spa, shot a 7-over-par 80 to finish three strokes clear of the field in an event that dates back to the 1930s.

“I just tried to stick with it,” Harkins said. “Mentally I tried not to get myself out of the game. I have a few things that I think about with each hole. When I putt, I do one (swing thought). I’m just working on that.”

Harkins, 59, said she didn’t pick up golf until after her mother died in 2005. Her older sister Kathy Harkins won the NEWGA title in 2016. She also played softball after college until she was introduced to fairways and greens.

“There’s still hand-eye coordination (in golf),” she said. “Golf is an animal with the mental aspect. It really taught me to pull up my bootstraps and stick with it.”

She entered the day two strokes behind defending champion Rachel Barlette of Shaker Ridge. Harkins had a three-stroke lead at the turn and sealed the victory with a 12-foot birdie on No. 17, a hole that Barlette three-putted.

“My putter let me down big time,” Barlette said. “Yesterday I putted fabulously. I got it to the hole almost every hole and just had a tap-in for par. Today I struggled. I could not get the pace down, and it showed.”

“I didn’t know where others were (on the leaderboard),” Harkins said. “I was just trying to be smart. I knew Rachel’s because I was keeping her score, but I wouldn’t allow myself to think about more than the next shot.”

Playing in the group ahead, Mary Scatena of Pinehaven matched Harkins’ second-round score and finished second, three shots back.

“I was just trying to better my score from yesterday,” said Scatena, who opened with an 83. “I had tried not to make any mental mistakes, which I made two. I’m not a scratch golfer, but there are two holes I wish I would have done better.”

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