Qualifiers weather tough conditions
Temperatures drop into 50s for second round of Section II tournament
May-december relationships aren’t supposed to apply to golf tournaments, but participants in the Section II state qualifier are wondering how the calendar got messed up.
After playing the first round of the 36-hole tournament Tuesday in 80-degree temperatures at Orchard Creek Golf Club, the 20 golfers who made the cut were greeted by temperatures in the 50s accompanied by a biting wind on Friday.
“Tuesday was perfect conditions,” Saratoga Springs senior Nolan Crowley said. “It was just a little wet. The wind was really a factor today, and the cold, and the wetness again. It was three factors coming in and making it hard on us.”
The scores showed it. Only four players improved on their first-round score, but Crowley managed a 6-over-par 77 to win the individual championship.
“Before the round, my goal was to get back to even,” Crowley said, “but when I was going through it, I was like try to shoot 75-75. I was on track to do it, but I just started getting worn down a bit, and the score started going downward.”
Crowley made a scrambling bogey on the par-4 15th and took double bogey on the par-5 16th — which played like a par 6 — but came in with a 10-over 152, four strokes ahead of Shenendehowa’s Paul Goetz, who shot 80.
“The yardage to take is basically irrelevant,” Goetz said, “because the point you were aiming at on Tuesday is like 30 or 40 yards left or right of where you have to play today. The yardage you get is 20 yards up or down of where you have to play. It’s just amazing the difference between Tuesday and today. We were 80 then, 50 probably today. It’s not fun, but you’ve got to figure out how to work at it.”
Seven birdies were carded by the field in 360 total holes. Just two players parred 16, a 587-yard hole that played into a strong wind. The stroke average on the hole was 6.75.
Nine players still left the course happy, having earned a trip to the state tournament next June at Cornell. Mike Westfall of Shenendehowa parred the first playoff hole against Aidan Fitzgerald of Albany Academy to earn the ninth and final spot. They were tied at 18-over 160.
“I was in a playoff two years back to move to the second round,” Westfall said, “so I had the feeling, but you’ve still got to execute.”
Four players will be headed to states for the second consecutive year: Crowley, Goetz, Aidan Seery of Guilderland, and Ryan Bloomer of Hoosick Falls.
Golfers, from left, who qualified for the state tournament include, Mike Westfall, Jack Manning and Paul Goetz of Shenendehowa, Nolan Crowley and A.J. Cavotta of Saratoga Springs, Ryan Bloomer and Matt Smith of Hoosick Falls, Aidan Seery of Guilderland and Trevor Wolfe of Ichabod Crane.