This time, Jeff Palmerino got the best of Bethlehem teammate Victor Fox.
The junior, who plays No. 2 to Fox for the Eagles and usually is a few strokes behind, earned medalist honors with a one-under-par 70 at the Section II Class ABCD playoffs Tuesday at Orchard Creek Golf Club.
Fox, considered the area’s top player, was just a shot back and will provide plenty of competition for Palmerino when they compete in Thursday’s New York State qualifier, 10:30 a.m. at Orchard Creek. Officials decided Tuesday to switch the date to Friday because of expected inclement weather, but then reconsidered and moved it back to Thursday. Sixteen players will vie for the nine spots on the state team that will represent the area next June at Cornell.
“Victor and I play together a lot, and he usually wins, but I can stay up with him if my short game is doing well,” said Palmerino. “Victor is a lot longer than I am off the tee.
“Victor usually has the upper hand, but when I’m putting well, I can hang around.”
Tuesday, it was Palmerino that produced most of the highlights between the Bethlehem duo. His round was topped by a 15-foot eagle putt on the third hole. He also birdied the first and 14th holes, but had some difficulty on the shorter holes with bogeys on the 11th, 13th and 17th holes.
“In the practice rounds, I didn’t putt very well, but I putted very well today,” Palmerino said. “This course fits my game. I hit the ball lower, and I get a lot of roll. That helps me keep up with all of the long hitters.”
Palmerino was asked how he would attack the Orchard Creek layout on Thursday.
“I won’t change my driver, but maybe I’ll be able to stick my iron shots a lot closer and go for the pins, because the greens should be holding a lot better,” he said.
“This is my first time playing in the sectionals, and it’s my first time playing for a spot on the state team. I’m looking forward to it.”
Fox, the qualifying medalist with a one-under-par 71 in the Class A tournament at Town of Colonie last week, got off to a quick start with birdies on the first and third holes. A three-putt bogey on the fourth hole slowed him down, and he lost a chance to gain the momentum back when he missed a 11⁄2-foot birdie putt on the eighth hole.
Fox rebounded, however, with a 10-foot birdie putt on the ninth hole.
The biggest turnaround of his round came on the 13th hole, when he hit his tee shot into the apple orchard and wound up with a double bogey.
Fox birdied the par-5 16th, but gave the shot back on the par-3 17th.
“The course will play longer on [Thursday]. It already played from the tips today,” Fox said. “If it’s breezy, swing easy, and that’s what I’ll do with the driver. I don’t think it will affect me too much with the driver, but the course will be soaked, and we should be able to fly everything right to the pin.”
Tied for third with 74s were Dylan Gladd of Columbia High School and Austin Teal of Albany Academy.
Bailey Cocca of Shaker, the first girl from a Class A school to make sectionals in the current format, just missed making a playoff for the final qualifying berth. She shot an 81.
“I started out very badly, and I was 10-over-par after the first six holes,” said the two-time New York State Girls’ Amateur champion. “But I played even the rest of the way.”
Although both Cocca and Grace Ziamandanis of Voorheesville had to play from the same tees as the boys, Cocca said the course length didn’t slow her down.
“It wasn’t a factor. I’ve played long courses like this in AJGA events,” she said. “But my [right] knee was bothering me a little, just when I walked. I’ve been holding off having surgery until after the season. I’m still happy with the way I played. This is the first time I made sectionals.”
Qualifiers — Jeff Palmerino (Bethlehem), 70, Victor Fox (Bethlehem) 71, Dylan Gladd (Columbia) 74, Austin Teal (Albany Academy) 74, Jimmy Greg (Shenendehowa), 75, Matt Parrottino (Voorheesville), 76, Davis Jensen (Shaker), 76, Alex Kinkaid (Shenendehowa) 77, D.J. Tozier (Shenendehowa), 78, Tim LaSarso (Queensbury), 78, Calvin Beckwith (Saratoga Springs), 79, Cody Purcell (CCHS) 79, Christian Flemming (Saratoga Springs) 79, Jacob Rounds (Broadalbin Perth) 80, Bobby McCarthy (Shenendehowa) 80, Ryan Lynch (Schalmont) 80.
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Categories: High School Sports