Ferrari, Puleo among those pursuing Downey for lead in NYS Men’s Amateur Golf Championship

Round 2 of the 2021 NYS Men's Amateur Championship at Schuyler Meadows Club, August 10, 2021.
Round 2 of the 2021 NYS Men's Amateur Championship at Schuyler Meadows Club, August 10, 2021.

LOUDONVILLE — Kyle Downey wasn’t playing particularly well, but a 40-minute weather delay slowed him down even further during the second round of the NYS Men’s Amateur Golf Championship Wednesday at Schuyler Meadows Club.

The 31-year-old former Siena College basketball player and member of Locust Hill CC in Rochester shot a 3-over-par 75 and is now at 3-under-par (141) headed into Thursday’s 36-hole finale. He owns a one-shot lead over two players and a two-stroke edge over three others. The leaderboard is extremely crowded.

“I think the guys in the afternoon wave feel like they’re just kind of getting the raw deal because it’s just getting so firm and fast,” Downey said.

“Luckily, the first 12 holes we played, the wind was really kind of whipping, and then we had this weather suspension. That kind of killed me, you know, because I’m getting old and tight. So I made two bogeys and then a little birdie after the break.

“I didn’t really deserve to stay in the lead, but you know what? What I did yesterday [a 66] was good enough to at least be in the hunt. When you play bad, that’s all that matters. We’ve got 36 holes tomorrow to try to figure it out and hopefully, my swing shows up and I catch some breaks.”

Matt Ferrari, who will be a junior this fall as a member of the Siena College golf team, used his course knowledge at Schuyler Meadows to stay in the hunt with a 2-under-par 70 for a two-day total of 2-under-par 142.

“I try to play here as much as I can, when school is not in the way,” said the Croton-on-Hudson native and former Section I player of the year. “I felt really comfortable coming in this week here. I know the course and I know where to go on the greens and on the fairway. I didn’t make any bombs, but the birdies I made were from 15 to 25 feet.”

Ferrari, who notched four birdies against two bogeys, said he’s been working to prepare all week for this tournament. Since the course is playing so short with hard fairways and greens, Ferrari used his 2-iron off the tee quite often.

“I’m feeling confident off the tee,” he said. “But the course is definitely playing much different than it has all season. I came in here this week and the rough was maybe two or three inches. Now, it’s thicker and more lush and healthier.”

James Allen of Scarsdale Golf Club is tied with Ferrari after shooting even-par Wednesday for a two-day total of 142. He matched his four birdies with four bogeys after carding a 70 on Tuesday.

“I love the course,” said the Penn State product. “I can definitely go lower [today]. This course tests every part of your game. The greens are so firm now. I’ve been hitting the ball very well, but if you are on the wrong side of the fairway, you can get screwed on your approach shot. I plan on being aggressive when the pins are in the right spot on the greens,” he said.

Ben Reichert, 23, the defending champion after winning this event in 2019 — there was no NYS Amateur because of the pandemic last year — made a huge move to get back into the chase with a 6-under-par 66 that tied Kyle Downey for low round of the tournament. Reichert, who plans on going pro next month, eagled the fifth hole for the highlight of his round.

“[Tuesday] was very windy, and I didn’t play very well,” said Reichert, a University at Buffalo product who carded a 77 in the opening round. “Today there was a little less wind. Nothing jumps out at you as far as long putts are concerned, but I got a better feel for this course. You had to land everything short here.”

Reichert’s impressive resume includes this year’s Porter Cup championship as well as the 2019 Florida State Amateur. He’s participated in both the 2020 and 2018 U.S. Amateur and was the 2015 NYS Boys’ Junior Amateur titlist.

Tied with Reichert is the top local threat, Albany Academy graduate Sean Puleo, who is a member of the home course and graduate of Washington & Lee University. Puleo shot a 73 in the second round for a two-round total of 143.

After a double bogey on the 12th hole, Puleo went on a birdie spree on the 13th, 14th and 15th holes to move closer to the lead, but he missed the green on the 18th hole and needed a clutch putt to save a bogey.

“I’m definitely exhausted because I carried my own bag. Stamina-wise, I’m going to need a caddie tomorrow,” Puleo said. “I definitely have a chance to win this, but I’ve never been in the lead in a tournament like this, and I don’t know if I really wanted to be. I like being the hunter from behind.”
Tied with Puleo and Reichert is Aiden Spaminato (70-143) from Locust Hill CC.

Joe Fitzsimmons of Shaker Ridge CC backed up his opening-round 73 with an even-par 72 for a 145 total. The former pro is almost exactly where he hoped to be at this stage of the tournament.

“Hopefully, I can make some putts [today],” he said. “I hit a lot of greens, maybe 16 or 17, plus lots of fairways. I was in play all day. I hit my driver most of the time, but a couple of times I geared back and hit my 3-wood instead. I had the opportunities to easily shoot 3- or 4-under today. My goal is to finish under par for four rounds.”

The cut is 7-over-par for a two-day total of 151. Capital Region players making the cut besides Puleo and Fitzsimmons are Jim Gifford of Mohawk Golf Club (74-147), Benjamin Rublee of the Country Club of Troy (74-150), Paul Goetz of The Edison Club (73-150), Dan Russo of the host club (72-151), and Steve Quillinan of the CC of Troy (74-151).

(Par 72-144)
Leaders — Kyle Downey (Locust Hill CC) 75-141, Matt Ferrari (Met PGA-Junior GC) 70-142, James Allen (Scarsdale GC) 72-142, Sean Puleo (Schuyler Meadows) 73-143, Aiden Scampinato (Locust Hill CC) 70-143, Ben Reichert (NYSGA eClub-Western NY) 66-143, Jamie Miller (Crag Burn GC) 70-144, Jason Lohwater (Brook Lea CC) 73-145, Joe Fitzsimmons (Shaker Ridge CC) 72-145, Chris DeForest (Twaafskill GC) 72-145, Jud Langille (Met PGA Junior GC) 73-145, (DJ Griffin (NYSGA eClub-Southern Tier) 71-145, Jeff March (Penfield CC) 72-145, Jeremy Sisson (Skaneateles CC) 72-146, Zachary Locke (Corning CC) 74-147, Alexander Kang (Harbor Links CC) 72-147, Jim Gifford (Mohawk GC) 73-147, Danny Gianniny (CC of Rochester) 74-147.

Other local players to make the cut — Paul Goetz (The Edison Club) 73-150, Benjamin Rublee (CC of Troy) 74-150, Steve Quillinan (CC of Troy) 74-151, Dan Russo (Schuyler Meadows Club) 72-151.

Other locals — Nolan Crowley (Saratoga G&P) 74-152, Jim Mueller (Orchard Creek GC) 75-152, Louis Walsh (Ballston Spa CC) 8-153, Paul Pratico (Schenectady Municipal) 79-153, AJ Cavotta (NYSGA eClub-Capital District) 79-154, Tom McGinn (Wolferts Roost CC) 74-154, Jack Downey (CC of Troy) 73-155, Mike Dwyer (The Edison Club) 74-156, Jimmy King (Mohawk GC) 79-156, Ben Bates (NYSGA eClub-Capital District) 80-157, Ryan Davis (Normanside CC) 78-158, David Hayes (Schuyler Meadows Club) 78-158, Nick Lyons (Schuyler Meadows Club) 77-159, Matt Welch (CC of Troy) 81-160, Matt Clarke (Cazenovia CC) 82-161, Mike Stopera (The Edison Club) 79-161, Aidan Fitzgerald (NYSGA eClub-Capital District) 8-162, Christopher Rust (Shaker Ridge CC) 82-164, Tim Flanigan (NYSGA eClub-Capital District) 78-164, Jim Welch (Olde Kinderhook GC) 81-165, David Mooradian (CC of Troy) 86-165, Kevin O’Leary (Schuyler Meadows) 84-166, Travis Deuel (Hiland Park CC) 83-171, John Foster (Shaker Ridge CC) 86-172, Chris Falvey (Schuyler Meadows) 91-175, Travis Koch (Saratoga National) 90-177, Chad Stoffer (Town of Colonie) DQ.

Reach Bob Weiner at [email protected].

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