For Kyle Gilroy, it quickly became apparent that winning the boys junior division of the New York State Boys and Girls Amateur Championship was out of the question.
So Gilroy, who will be a freshman at Fayetteville-Manlius this fall, did the next-best possible thing, which was win the close race for second place in the tournament conducted Tuesday and Wednesday by the New York State Golf Association at Ridgemont Country Club in Rochester.
Most of the 33-player field, which included Gilroy (who plays out of Onondaga Golf & Country Club) and East Syracuse’s Ian Rivers (who plays out of the Links at Erie Village), would struggle at Ridgemont. Gilroy shot an 80 in his opening round, while Rivers managed an 88.
There was one glaring exception to those struggles, though. Will Thomson, whose home course is the famed Oak Hill layout in Pittsford that’s hosted multiple editions of the U.S. Open and PGA Championship, shot an astonishing eight-under-par 64.
That included a front-nine 30 with six birdies in a seven-hole stretch from holes 3 through 9, with a back-nine 34. Thomson’s effort left him 11 shots ahead of New Hartford’s Ryan Zogby with 18 holes left in this 36-hole tournament.
No one was catching Thomson, whose 72 gave him a repeat victory in this division by an astonishing 19 shots. So it was a fight for the runner-up spot, and Gilroy would win it.
A birdie at 5 highlighted a front-nine 39. Then Gilroy made two more birdies, at 11 and 17, to offset four bogeys on the back nine as he posted a 77, three shots better than his opening round, and finished at 157.
When Zogby fell back to an 83, Gilroy sneaked ahead of him and gained second place by one shot, also edging out Aidan Shaw, from Orchard Park, who had an 80 and 78 to post a total of 158.
Meanwhile, Rivers showed vast improvement in his second round, gaining 10 shots by finishing with a 78. He made three consecutive birdies on holes 3, 4 and 5, plus a birdie at 11, and his total of 166 would