Playoff fever was catching Friday at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course.
With the deepest and most talented field in the 11-year history of the Gazette’s Newspaper in Education Capital District Junior Golf Championship, it wasn’t surprising to have a playoff in the boys’ 15-18 age division.
The surprise was that there was also a playoff in the girls’ 12-18
James “Jeb” Buchanan of Olde Kinderhook won a four-man playoff on the first extra hole to win the boys’ 15-18 title, and Stephanie Bednar of Columbia Golf
& Country Club survived a three-hole playoff to edge Macy Raimo of Shaker Ridge Country Club for girls’ honors.
Aaron Simone captured the boys’ 12-14 division with a four-over-par 76.
Buchanan, a left-hander, Justin Deitz of The Edison Club, Joe Macaluso of Saratoga National and Derek MacLeod of Pinehaven Country Club each posted an even-par 72 in the boys’ 15-18 division. The quartet moved to the ninth hole for a sudden-death playoff.
Macaluso was eliminated from the playoff almost immediately when he pulled his drive well left. At first, it appeared that the ball was lost in the weeds, but it was eventually found further up the fairway. He tried to hack out of the weeds near the hazard, but his ball ended up going deeper into the bushes. He took a drop, hit his fourth shot in front of the green and eventually recorded a double bogey on the par-5 hole.
Buchanan and Deitz were in the middle of the fairway after their tee shots, and MacLeod was in the right rough, but all three reached the green in three. MacLeod and Deitz two-putted for par, but Buchanan, whose second shot was only a few yards off the green, chipped up to six feet and then rolled in the birdie putt to lock up the win.
Buchanan, who will attend the University of Connecticut this fall, was thrilled with the win, especially since it appeared that he had tournament well in hand after a sizzling start.
“I had it going good,” he said. “I birdied the first, sixth and seventh holes. But my ball-striking wasn’t very good on the back nine. I had so many opportunities that I didn’t take advantage of.”
Buchanan failed to score on the trio of par-5s on the back nine. He posted a double bogey on the 12th hole and settled for pars on both 14 and 16.
Deitz, who will play for Siena College this fall, also played well early with birdies on the second and third holes. A couple of loose tee shots cost him on the back nine.
“I lost three balls on the par-5s,” he said. “I lost a ball on the ninth hole, but I was able to get up and down for par. I also lost a ball on the 12th hole and still managed a par, but I bogeyed the 16th hole when I hit my ball into the hazard.”
Deitz didn’t know it at the time, but he needed a birdie on the 18th hole to join a playoff. He knocked in a 10-footer.
Macaluso, like Deitz a Shenendehowa High School graduate, was two-over-par at the turn, but he birdied the 12th, 16th and 17th holes to make a charge. His bogey on the 18th hole prevented him from winning outright.
MacLeod bogeyed the fourth hole to go along with eight pars on the front. He added birdies on the 10th and 15th holes on the back to offset a bogey on the 11th hole.
Simone won his division with the help of birdies on the first, fourth and sixth holes.
In the girls’ 12-18 division, Bednar and Raimo each birdied a pair of holes in regulation before heading to a playoff.
Both girls parred the first extra hole, the ninth, with routine two-putts after reaching the green in regulation.
On the second extra hole, the 18th, Raimo missed the green, but she chipped to three feet and converted the par putt. Bednar had 25 feet for birdie, but she came up seven feet short and then had to make the pressure par putt to keep the playoff alive.
The girls went back to the 18th tee again for the third extra hole. This time, Raimo pushed her tee shot into the right rough, and she came up short of the green again on her approach shot. She chipped up to about six feet.
Bednar’s approach shot landed pin-high in the right rough. She also chipped onto the green, just a few inches beyond Raimo’s ball. Bednar rolled in the par putt, and Raimo’s putt slid past the cup for a bogey.
“It was stressful, but a lot of fun,” said Bednar of the playoff. “I thought it would never end. I got tired out there, and I didn’t want to play any more.”
Bednar has won a pair of Northeastern New York PGA Junior Golf Association events this year.
Raimo said her short game helped keep her in contention. The Colonie High School junior also has two
NENYPGA Junior Golf Association victories this summer.
Bryan Barach was the Calloway net winner in the boys’ 15-18 division with a 69. John Polec won the Calloway net in the boys’ 12-14 with a 71, while Bailey Cocca took the girls’ 12-18 division Calloway net with a 72.
Barach, Spencer Sautin and Sarah Romer won the longest drive contests. Bednar, Simone, Ryan Prinzo and Jackie Young were the closest to the pin winners.
Boys’ 15-18 — Gross: x-Jeb Buchanan 72, Justin Deitz 72, Joe Macaluso 72, Derek MacLeod 72, Animesh Hajela 73, Seth
Adams 74,Bryan Barach 74, David Mastroianni 74, Chris Mathewson 75, Ryan Prinzo 75, Kevin Schlansker 75, Justin Schnellbacher 75, Scott Brayden 76, Erik Hil 76, Brandon Bush 77, Dan DeNyse 77, Bryan Gorman 77, Conor Hart 77, Shane Kisielis 77, Brad Krohl 77, Nick Longo 77, Matt McCaffrey 77, Brian Schlansker 77, Brendan Jeffes 78, John Young 78, Dan Bennison 79, Kevin Brown 79, Chris Farah 79, Patrick Seebald 79, Pete Koehler 80, Joe Cimmino 81, Greg Dwyer 81, Josh Powers 81, Andrew Bissonette 82, Lucas Grant 82, Christopher Hilliker 82, Alex Olbrych 82, Jeff Stopera 82, Gardner 83, Joe Watroba 83, Ryan Zielinski 83, James Bologna 84, Sean Miles 84, Victor Ralbovsky 85, Aaron Scofield 88, Weston Shapiro 89, Alex Hoppe 90, Brendan Montrello 90, Kyle Young 90, Chris Ottati 92, Tom Mittler 93, Brian Seebald 96, Isaiah Marcelle 97, Brian Oyangen 100, Sean McMullen 102. Calloway net: Barach 69, Adams 69, Hajela 70.
Boys’ 12-14 — Gross: Aaron Simone 76, Justin Brock 77, Zach Lauzon 77, Jon Farah 78, D.J. Tozier 78, Victor Fox 78, Dylan Gladd 85, Ryan Lynch 86, Spencer Sautin 86, Chris Giglio 87, Dan Bergami 88, Chris Amorosi 89, James Greg 89, Austin Clark 91, David Wellington 92, John Verhayden 95, Zach Mallard 97, Alex DeMarco 98, Freddy Luna 98, Dom Caputo 99, Jacob Leighton 104, John Polec 105, Alex Frascatore 108, Alex Coyne 112, Kevin Ottati 116, Chris Herman 119, Alex Sroczynski 121, Zack Valenza 134. Calloway net: Polec 71, Sroczynski 71, Fox 72.
Girls’ 12-18 — Gross: x-Stephanie Bednar 76, Macy Raimo 76, Bailey Cocca 77, Sarah Romer 81, Jacqueline Young 83, Jen Murphy 86, Grace Ziamandanis 91, Sarah Adamowski 95, Jessica Madsen 99, Rachel Murphy 109, Lisa Oyangen 112. Calloway net: Cocca 72, Adamowski 73.
Longest drive — Barach, (boys’ 15-18), Sautin (boys’ 12-14), Romer (girls’ 12-18).
Closest to the pin — Simone, Bednar (sixth hole); Prinzo, Young (13th hole).
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