Clare snares top-five finish in state tournament

WG golfer trails new champ, New Hartford's Bard

On a historic day for Section III boys golf, West Genesee junior John Clare had his own big moment.

Clare moved all the way up to a tie for fifth place in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association tournament, which concluded Monday at the Cornell University course in Ithaca.

In the opening round on Sunday, Clare fought his way to a four-over-par 76 on the Robert Trent Jones-designed Cornell layout, putting him in a tie for 11th amid a field of 99 players.

The conditions got colder – and wetter = for the final round a day later, but Clare was ready for it. He posted a 77, a shot higher, but still worked his way up the standings.

Finishing at nine-over-par 153, Clare shared fifth place with Willis Huynh (Syosset), Steve Tanen (Cold Spring Harbor), Ryan Miller (Suffern) and Chris Yeom (New Hyde Park).

All of them, as it turned out, chased New Hartford junior Derek Bard. After beating Clare to win his third straight state qualifier at Seven Oaks the week before, Bard, with a superb 69 that included seven birdies in the rain, zoomed to the first state title won by a Section III golfer since 1992 – when West Genesee’s Jeff Goodelle won it all.

Overall, Clare’s one-under-par 143 left him the only player in red figures, and five shots better than Rondout Valley’s Ben DeForest, who was the first-round leader with a 71 before slumping to a 77.

Joining Clare in the state tournament, Westhill’s Ryan Conroy struggled to an 89 and 91 in his two rounds, finishing at 180, a tie for 88th place.

Bard’s younger brother, Alec, tied for 20th at 157, followed in the Section III crowd by Aiden Fuller (CBA) and Mike Kalil (Utica Notre Dame), who tied for 24th, along with Joel Jakubowicz (Whitesboro, tied for 38th), Jack Bellardini (CBA, tied for 51st) and Ryan Clark (South Jefferson, tied for 69th).

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