Hamilton More than eight months ago, four talented boys golfers from Baldwinsville – Christian Nizamis, James Pelcher, Paul Pitcher and Matt Monaco - recorded high finishes during the Section III Class AA championships at the Links at Sunset Ridge.
Then they waited, through long, brutal winter and cold spring, to get their chance at the next step in the process, which was the sectional state qualifying tournament that took place Thursday and Saturday at Colgate University’s Seven Oaks course.
As in years past, 21 golfers would make it through the opening-round cut and battle it out two days later to see which nine would make the trip to Cornell University’s well-regarded course for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association tournament.
Seven Oaks didn’t play favorites as to which season the individuals took part in, as a fall golfer, Mike Lee (Fayetteville-Manlius), and a spring golfer, Tom Mandel (New Hartford), tied for first place after the first round with matching totals of two-over-par 74.
The drama lay behind them, as B’ville’s golfers scrambled to make the cut. Of them, Pelcher would fare best, posting an 80 to tie for 12th place and make it with one shot to spare.
For Nizamis, it was a bit more tense. Working hard to make pars, Nizamis got enough of them to shoot an 81, which tied for 15th place and, as it turned out, stood as the cut line.
Falling just short of that mark, Pitcher put up a brave effort, finishing with an 83, tied for 24th place, while Monaco lay further back and shot an 89.
So now Pelcher and Nizamis went to Saturday's final round, well-positioned to, with a good score, get that shot at making it to the state tournament.
And Nizamis took full advantage. Even with tough conditions at Seven Oaks, Nizamis shot a 76, a five-shot improvement on his opening round, to finish at 156, which put him alone in sixth place – and bound for the state tournament.
Pelcher nearly joined him, as he shot a second consecutive 80 to finish at 160, but that left him in a tie for 10th, two shots out of the total of 158 needed to advance that Lee would shoot after he struggled with a final-round 84.
So Nizamis joined Mandel, the individual winner in the qualifier with 151, plus Lee, Joe Petrin (Cicero-North Syracuse), Mike May (Auburn), Dante Migliore (Frankfort-Schuyler), Nick Santaro (F-M), Jack Bellardini (CBA) and Bob Davenport (West Canada Valley) as they made their way to Cornell.