As Albany Academy for Girls junior phenom Kennedy Swedick prepared to defend her NYSPHSAA girls’ golf championship Sunday and Monday at The Edison Club, she also had numerous other decisions to make about her jam-packed tournament schedule this summer. Her tremendous talent and desire to compete against the best players in the country unfortunately created numerous extremely tough decisions.
The University of Virginia-bound star’s schedule is loaded with conflicts, and she can only be at one challenging golf course at a time.
Swedick’s fantastic 2022 season included two state titles — this weekend’s girls’ state scholastic crown as well as the NYS Women’s Amateur. Both were won at McGregor Links CC last summer.
But as of now, it doesn’t appear that Swedick will be able to defend her NYS Women’s Amateur victory, and it’s also extremely unlikely that she will participate in the Epson Tour’s Twin Bridges Championship against the pros at Pinehaven CC, even though she received an exemption.
“It’s a pretty busy summer,” Swedick admitted. “After this week, I’ve got the U.S. Girls’ Qualifier June 19 in Colorado. Then I’ve got the PGA Junior Championship at Town of Colonie. The PGA Junior Championship is going to be in Arkansas this year. I’ve also got the Western Junior in Missouri this year and the North-South Junior is at Pinehurst, which I’m also playing in. I’m playing in some AJGA events, as well. Unfortunately, the U.S. Girls’ Junior is the same week as the Epson Tour’s stop here. If I make it through the qualifier on June 19, I’ll miss the Epson Tour.
“Another conflict that we see is with the NYS Women’s Amateur. That’s the same week as the Western Junior, and we are leaning toward playing in the Western Junior. It’s a good opportunity that we haven’t had yet.”
Scheduling conflicts aside, Swedick is thrilled to be defending her girls’ state scholastic crown this weekend against a formidable field.
“My season starts all over again right now,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to this year’s event. There are so many great girls from all over the state, and not just local. There are some talented players from Westchester County and Syracuse to keep an eye on.”
As she noted numerous times a year ago, tournaments that she participates in as part of a team are special.
“I’m playing not only for myself this week, but also for the school itself,” she said. “Having my teammates with me is special, and there is definitely a different atmosphere on the course knowing that you have other teammates who are playing for each other.”
Although she won both her state championships at McGregor Links CC last season, Swedick feels equally at home at The Edison Club, where the Section 2 girls’ championship was held last fall.
“It’s fortunate that our whole team knows the course and is very familiar with it. The course is really great,” Swedick said. “The rough is thick, and the greens are tricky and fast. They will be faster for this event than they were last fall. My plan, as usual, is to hit as many fairways and greens as possible. There are definitely many subtle breaks at The Edison Club. There aren’t too many greens that have a 4-5 slope, and sometimes you can’t be sure about breaks. There are also some false fronts on the greens, as well as a couple of slopes and ridges around the greens.”
Swedick said she will once again rely on her strong mental game.
“When the pressure is high, I always try to take one stroke at a time,” Swedick said. “I don’t think about the circumstances, just the next shot. Having a good mental game is so crucial. You can have a really solid game and not execute well in tournaments. Having a combination of a good physical game and a good mental game makes you successful. I would say the No. 1 thing I’m working on compared to last year is my mental game, but then again, in golf, you are always working on some aspect of your game.”
Swedick said she is proud that even when she was struggling in a couple of big events, she was able to bounce back mentally.
“Even during the state tournament last year, I wasn’t playing well on the front nine, and my putts weren’t dropping,” Swedick said. “At the turn, I thought that I’ve really got to turn something on, and I was able to click into another gear. I knew I only had nine holes left, and I pushed myself.”
Swedick also has been putting a lot of work into her short game, especially her putting, but she knows she needs to keep improving on every club in her bag.
“My driver is the strength of my game. I’ve been working with my trainer to get stronger physically, and I’ve gained some length on my tee shots. I’ve got my swing stuff worked out with my coach Anders Mattson. But I’m also working on my approach shots. I need to get my approach shots closer to the hole,” said Swedick.
Also competing for Albany Academy will be seniors Nicole Criscone, Samantha Von Rohr and Jillian Rawson. The Section 2 team also will be represented by seventh-grader Hayden Knapp of South Glens Falls, Maria Jackson of Saratoga Springs, Sienna Wheeler of Colonie, Zorah Williams of Emma Willard and Tekla Fine-Lease of Queensbury.
Tee times begin at 11 a.m. Sunday and at 9 a.m. on Monday.
BOYS IN ELMIRA
Meanwhile, the Section 2 boys also will be playing Sunday and Monday in the boys’ state championship at Mark Twain Golf Course in Elmira.
Leading the way will be the Saratoga Springs High School contingent of Kellen Dean, Charlie Greiner, Henry Parobeck and Carter Sica, as well as Brayden Dock of Glens Falls, Vince Liguori and Connor Desjardins of Niskayuna, Noah Tyler of Hudson Falls and Eric Spoth of Shenendehowa.
Fort Plain graduate Evan Crouse, who won Herkimer County Community College’s first NJCAA Region III tournament recently by one stroke over Lane Jenkins of Hudson Valley CC, is headed to the NJCAA Division III National Championship Tuesday through Friday at Chauquatua Golf Course in Chauquatua. I somehow mistakenly wrote that Crouse’s first name was Eric in last week’s column. He shot a career-best 1-under-par 71 in the opening round of the NJCAA Region III tournament.
Leatherstocking G.C. hosts the NYS Amateur & Senior Amateur Mixed Team Championship Monday. Twenty tandems with local ties are competing, including Sue Kahler of Saratoga Springs with Gary Kahler of Rome, Nancy Kroll of Schenectady with Jim Toomey of Albany, Anne and Michael Van Buren of Albany, Rob Helm of Albany with Pat Mayne of Guilderland and Chad Stoffer of Niskayuna with Angela Miczek of Saratoga Springs.
Woodstock Golf Club head pro Chris Sanger, who competed in the PGA Professional Championship and the PGA Championship before winning the NENY PGA Stroke Play title last week at Saratoga National GC, kept his hot streak going by capturing the Pro Classic No. 3 at Saratoga Golf & Polo Club with a 1-under-par 69.
Eagle Crest GC hosts the NYS Open qualifier for both pros and amateurs on Tuesday.
Hoosick Falls native Taylor Bellemare, a former member, is the defending champion of the Troy Invitational, set for June 10-11 at the Country Club of Troy.
A water main break at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course has turned the par-4 eighth hole into a par-3 until further notice. The tees for all sets will be placed on top of the hill prior to the lower fairway area. There also will be restricted cart traffic.
A 5,000-pound rock has been moved to commemorate the late Bob Biggane in time for the Bob Biggane Memorial at Cobleskill G&CC. The rock has a plaque to designate the course’s practice area in Biggane’s memory.
Registration is now open for the second wave of the NYSGA Amateur Series. The second wave opens with a stop at McGregor Links CC June 10.
Applications are now available for the Schenectady Classic and Schenectady Women’s Classic June 16-18 at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course. Competitors can pick up the applications at the Schenectady Municipal pro shop or call 518-382-5155 to have them emailed to you.
The second annual Charity Skins Game Tournament, to benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of Schenectady, will be held at Mohawk Golf Club June 20. This year’s field includes six-time PGA Tour and three-time PGA Tour Champions winner Rocco Mediate, four-time PGA Tour and three-time PGA Tour Champions winner Billy Andrade, four-time PGA Tour winner Tim Herron and three-time PGA Tour titlist Chris DiMarco. Popular Blaine McCallister, who has five professional wins, returns as the host. For more information, contact Joel Slutsky (518-376-9990 or [email protected]), or the official event website (https://cdskinsgame.com/).
The 26th annual Saints Alive! Shootout will be held at The Edison Club June 19. Entry fee is $1,200 for foursomes and $300 for individuals. The event helps to support more than 350 Siena College athletes. For more information, contact Paul DiLello ([email protected] or 518-783-2530).
Hales Mills CC is hosting a Junior Camp July 5, July 12 and July 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Entry fee is $160 per person and includes golf lessons by head pro Chris Mathewson, playing golf and lunch each day. Call the pro shop (518-736-4622) to sign up.
Van Patten Golf Club once again hosts the 32nd annual John C Daly-James W. Michaels Memorial Open June 28. All proceeds benefit St. Peters ALS Center. There are various sponsorship levels for businesses that want to participate. The team scramble event will have a 10:30 a.m. shotgun start with a grab-and-go lunch, 19th hole reception and plenty of high-end appetizers at the 19th hole reception. There won’t be a sit-down banquet this year. Entry fee is $800 per team and includes golf, GPS carts, range balls, lunch, 19th hole reception and plenty of beer, wine and soft drinks available throughout the day. The field is two-thirds full so far. Concord Pools & Spas has put up a $10,000 five-person Monaco Hot Tub as a hole-in-one prize. There will also be a grand raffle prize of a summer barbecue package and a $250 certificate to Fred the Butcher. For more information, contact Scott Daly at 518-339-0491 or email him at [email protected].
Polly Hoye used a 6-iron to record a hole-in-one on the 130-yard second hole at Hales Mills Country Club.
At Cobleskill G&CC, Bruce Baker hit a gap wedge for an ace on the eighth hole.
At Pinehaven CC, Chris Stopera posted an eagle on the par-4 8th hole with a 7-iron.
Reach Bob Weiner at [email protected].