Hamilton Throughout an active spring of tournament play, West Genesee boys golfer John Clare pointed his way to a return to Ithaca for a third consecutive appearance in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association championship tournament.
And Clare got there by virtue of his hard-fought victory in last week's Section III state qualifier, held again at Seven Oaks in Hamilton.
During the opening round, Clare shot a 74, two over part, tying Fayetteville-Manlius’ Mike Lee and New Hartford’s Alec Bard for first place, one ahead of Karl Deuble (Liverpool) and Tom Mandel (New Hartford) going into the final round.
Everyone reset for the May 25 final round, and the conditions at Seven Oaks turned brutal. Cold temperatures, winds that gusted past 30 miles per hour and occasional rain made every shot an adventure, and sco
And through it all, Clare was the best player in the field. He posted rounds of 74 and 85, and while the 36-hole total of 159 looked far from impressive, it was enough to win the tournament.
Clare beat Cicero-North Syracuse’s Joey Petrin (161) by two shots. Bard and Mandel tied for third, three shots back of Clare.
This quartet, along with Deuble, Derek Bard (also from New Hartford), Mike Kalil (Utica-Notre Dame), Ian Campbell (Canastota) and Jack Bellardini (CBA), claimed the top nine spots and are headed for Cornell University’s Robert Trent Jones course for the state championships.
The cut of the state qualifier fell at 82, and Westhill, despite its undefeated OHSL Liberty division mark and Section III Class B team title, did not have any of its golfers make the top 25.
Gus Gosson got close, with an 83, just one shot from advancing, while Nate Miesner had an 88 and Chad Pichoskie shot 89.
Marcellus’ top qualifier, Jackson Mordaunt finished with an 84, missing the top 25 by two shots, with teammate Brennan Files finishing with a 91. Clare’s West Genesee teammates also missed the cut as John Sullivan posted a 92 and Andrew Gearhart added a 96.
Three Bishop Ludden players also participated in the state qualifier, where Kevin Sierotnik shot a 98, three shots ahead of Will Wallace and four shots better than Tim Murphy.