Hoosick Falls’ Smith leads Section II golf state qualifier

Saratoga Springs' Cavotta is in second
Hoosick Falls' Matt Smith had a hole-in-one during Tuesday's Section II state golf qualifier.
Hoosick Falls' Matt Smith had a hole-in-one during Tuesday's Section II state golf qualifier.

ALTAMONT — Several players at the top of the leaderboard were in attack mode all afternoon, and the result was a plethora of red numbers during the first round of the Section II New York State Golf Qualifier Tuesday at Orchard Creek Golf Course.

Matt Smith of Hoosick Falls recorded a hole-in-one during a 3-under-par 68, Class A Championship co-medalist A.J. Cavotta of Saratoga Springs went 4-under-par over the first three holes en route to a 69, Jimmy King of Niskayuna eagled the third hole to shoot 4-under-par for the first five holes during his 69, and Paul Goetz of Shenendehowa stayed out of major trouble with a power fade off the tee to shoot even-par 71 on a day made for scoring.

Twenty players made the cut for the second round of the state qualifier, which now will be played Friday back at Orchard Creek instead of Thursday because of expected inclement weather. Five players who posted 81 played off for the final two qualifying berths. Tismark Boham of Ichabod Crane and Justin Bateman of Niskayuna won the playoff.

Smith, a left-hander, rolled in three birdies, but the highlight of his round was an ace on the sixth hole. He used a 7-iron from about 147 yards.

“I didn’t see it go in,” Smith said. “It’s my first hole-in-one. I’m feeling great right now. I wanted to be medalist, although my ultimate goal is to get back to the state tournament. I went last year.”

Smith kept his sizzling round going with outstanding par saves on the par-3 17th hole and par-5 18th hole.

Meanwhile, Cavotta was on an unbelievable hot streak right out of the gate. He birdied the first and second holes before recording an eagle on the par-5 third hole to quickly go 4-under-par.

“I really wanted to make a lot of birdies today,” Cavotta said. “I pulled my driver out on every hole I could. I’m trying to win this tournament — not just get to the states. When Matt got to 3-under-par on the 16th hole, I really wanted to finish strong.”

Cavotta hit his tee shot inside of six feet on the par-3 17th hole, but he missed the birdie putt. He reached the par-5 18th hole in two, but his ball was precariously close to the edge of the water hazard, and he had to punch out, setting for a two-putt par.

“I got a lot of chances, but I couldn’t make many of my putts on the back nine,” Cavotta said. “When I lipped out my par putt for a bogey on the fifth hole, my round started to slow down. I kept hitting the ball within 15 feet of the cup, but I couldn’t make the putts. I wrote 68 on the back of my hand, because that’s what I wanted to shoot today. I came close, but now I’m in good position for Friday.”

Jimmy King, like Cavotta, had a terrific with a birdie on the first and fifth holes to go along with an eagle on the third hole. He also birdied the 14th and 18th holes.

“The wind plays a huge impact on scoring here usually, but not today. It was really nice today,” King said. “It was my goal to get to the second day of the state qualifier, but it would be awesome to be the medalist. It will be nice to play with some of the best players in that last group on Friday.”

Goetz converted three birdies to offset three bogeys. 

“I was pretty static all day. I stayed out of trouble. Most of my birdies were tap-ins, and I chipped well all day. I switched my ball flight to a fade to keep the ball in the fairway for this tournament,” Goetz said. “I’ve been close to being medalist before, and now I’ve put myself in position to have a chance again on Friday. I’ve been to the states twice before.”

(Par 71)

Qualifiers — Matt Smith (Hoosick Falls) 68, A.J. Cavotta (Saratoga Springs) 69, Jimmy King (Niskayuna) 69, Paul Goetz (Shenendehowa) 71, Clarkie Carroll (Saratoga Springs) 72, Ryan Bloomer (Hoosick Falls) 73, Ryan Lovelass.(Galway) 75, Nick Lyons (Albany Academy) 76, Nick Tellone (Niskayuna) 76, Chris Huban (Albany Academy) 77, Jake Owens (Greenwich) 77, Lane Jenkins (Shaker) 78, Will Braxton (Saratoga Springs) 79, Ryan Murphy (Shaker) 79, Brian Cunningham (Shaker) 79, Ryan Komp (Shenendehowa) 79, Trevor Wolfe (Ichabod Crane) 79, Jack Mattfield (Catholic Central) 80, Tismark Boham (Ichabod Crane) 81, Justin Bateman (Niskayuna) 81.
Other scores — Kellen Dean (Saratoga Springs) 81, John Russell (Maple Hill) 81, Trey Smith (Greenville) 81, John Grant (Duanesburg) 82, Jack Vandecar  (Shenendehowa) 82, Will Lasch (Albany Academy) 82, Tyler Zieker (Saratoga Springs) 82, Aidan Campbell (Shenendehowa) 82, Aidan Fitzgerald (Albany Academy) 83, Jack Lucey (Bethlehem) 83, Zander Poole (CBA) 83, Matt Redmond (Whitehall) 83, Travis Taylor (Columbia) 83, Chris Taranto (Bethlehem) 84, Patrick Daley (Niskayuna) 84, CJ Durinick (Amsterdam) 84, Bobby Pisinski (Shaker) 84, Madison Bentley (Taconic Hills) 84, Mitchell Rheeman (La Salle) 85, Ben Swartz (Hudson Falls) 86, Taylor Gifford (Fort Plain) 86, Dixon Boggs (CBA) 86, Michael Duval (Ballston Spa) 86, Brayden Kehoe (Niskayuna) 87, Sam Fair (Shenendehowa) 87, Matthew McClenon (Niskayuna) 87, Mathew Coons (Duanesburg) 88, Timmy Carlson (Albany Academy)  88, Brayden Dock (Glens Falls) 88, Eric Spoth (Shenendehowa  89, Lucas Mitchell (Guilderland) 90, Will Ashley (Tamarac) 90, Robert Erickson (Voorheesville) 91, Will Davis (Bethlehem)  91, Anthony Fiacco (Mechanicville) 92, Eric Purdy (Hudson Falls) 93, Will Povie (Queensbury) 94, Alex Kelley (Shaker) 101, Tanner Freeman (Queensbury) 101.

Reach Bob Weiner at [email protected] or @BobWeiner58 on Twitter.

Categories: High School Sports, Sports

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