Familiar with the surroundings, and the unique pressure of the event, Skaneateles senior Eric Edmunds closed out his high school career with an impressive third-place showing at this week's New York State Public High School Athletic Association championship in Ithaca.
Edmunds, along with fellow Skaneateles senior Jeff Baldetti, also helped lead Section III to a second-place team finish at 1,092, just eight shots behind Section V, who won with 1,084.
Again, the state tournament was contested over the Robert Trent Jones-designed Cornell University course, where Edmunds and Baldetti had played in the same event one year earlier.
It started on Sunday when Edmunds shot an even-par 72, moving him into third. Only Matt vanNiekirk (Harley Allendale Columbia), with a 70,and Gavin Hall (Pittsford), with a 71, were ahead of Edmunds. Baldetti struggled to an 81 and was in the middle of the pack.
During the final round Monday, Baldetti improved his score to a 78 and, by doing so, finished at 159, in a tie for 30th place, beating more than half the 99-player field.
Meanwhile, Edmunds stayed right behind vanNiekirk and Hall, even though his score rose to a 75. At 147, Edmunds had to wait to see if it was enough for a state title.
Entering the final hole, Hall was tied with Edmunds, one shot behind vanNiekirk. But the highly-decorated left-handed Pittsford sophomore (he played in last year's PGA Tour Turning Stone Resort Championship) hit a driver at the 532-yard
18th and a 215-yard approach to 10 feet, draining the eagle putt to end Edmunds' title hopes. When vanNiekirk three-
putted for bogey, Hall had won by one.
Helping Section III to its high team finish, New Hartford's Derek Bard shot the low final round of 70 to rise to a tie for fourth place at 148, while Alec Bard, also of New Hartford, was alone in ninth at 150.
Keith Smith (Remsen, tied for 41st), West Genesee teammates Connor Salanger (tied for 46th) and John Clare (tied for 49th), Seth Adams (Camden, tied for 61st) and Chadd Call (General Brown, 89th) rounded out the squad.