Familiar faces partake in pro-am ahead of Danielle Downey Classic

July 16, 2019 11:40 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) -- The Danielle Downey Classic tees off in full force on Thursday but on Tuesday, a few celebrities were in town to take part in a pro-am.

While Jim Kelly, Brian Gionta and Jim Boeheim are legends in their respective sports, it's safe to say that they'll rely on the Symetra Tour players that they were paired with.

July in western New York means that football season is right around the corner but on Tuesday, Jim Kelly was on the golf course.  The Bills Hall of Famer hasn't hit the links much in recent years, but jumped at the opportunity to be here.

"I've played golf about six times in the last few years because of neck and back surgeries", says Kelly, "but I love coming out when it benefits kids or people who need help. It feels good to get out here and swing it a little bit. I don't know where the ball is going but we're going to have fun."

Basketball Hall of Famer Jim Boeheim was in another celebrity group. The Syracuse basketball head coach just began summer workouts with his team, but said he likes to carve out time to help the community.

"It's always good to play a few holes", says Boeheim. "We do a lot of charity things and give back to the community and we are so well supported by Rochester. We give back to the Boys and Girls Club in Rochester. It's great to give back."

The pro's at Brook Lea will play for a trophy this week. Sixteen years ago, Brian Gionta won the Stanley Cup and shared that trophy with the City of Rochester; but he said one of his teammates played a prank on him the night before his party.

"Joe Nieuwendyk has a cottage on Keuka Lake and had it (the Stanley Cup) a day or two before me", says Gionta. "He called me at three in the morning and said his party got out of hand. We dropped the cup. After 10 minutes he said he was joking."

Luckily, there were no broken trophies this week just memories with plenty of fans.  

The Danielle Downey Classic also benefits the Pluta Cancer Center, a foundation important to all three of the celebrity athletes who played Tuesday. 


Rich Donnelly

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