Victor Fox played plenty of competitive golf last fall, but it wasn’t for his school team.
He knew something was missing in his total golfing experience, so he tried out for the Bethlehem squad this year and quickly became the dominant player in Section II.
That’s why it wasn’t a surprise that Fox carded a three-under-par 68 and finished the two-day Section II qualifier for the state team with a 139 at soggy Orchard Creek Thursday.
Joining Fox on the Section II team that will compete at Cornell next June will be D.J. Tozier of Shenendehowa (68-146), Austin Teal of Albany Academy (72-146), Jeff Palmerino of Bethlehem (77-147), Davis Jensen of Shaker (72-148), Dylan Gladd of Columbia (74-148), Jimmy Greg of Shenendehowa (74-149), Alex Kinkaid of Shenendehowa (75-152) and Matt Parrottino of Voorheesville (77-153).
Corey Purcell of Catholic Central will be the alternate for the second year in a row.
Fox, the medalist at the Class A sectionals at Town of Colonie last week, was second after the first round of the state qualifier with a 71, one shot behind Palmerino.
Thursday, Fox took advantage of his length off the tee to overpower the wet Orchard Creek layout.
“I’m very excited to be the No. 1 player on the Section II team that will be going to Cornell next June,” he said. “It was definitely one of my goals when I decided to play for the school team this year to have an opportunity to represent my school and to play for the state team. I am very happy.”
He opened with a birdie on the par-5 first hole and then just missed a four-foot birdie try on the third hole. He got up-and-down for par on the fourth hole before sticking an approach to six inches and tapping in for birdie on the ninth hole.
Fox rolled in a 15-foot sliding birdie putt from above the hole on the par-3 11th hole and then parred the tough 13th hole. He double-bogeyed that hole on Tuesday.
Fox birdied the short par-4 14th hole with a 15-footer but then slipped a bit coming home, including a three-putt bogey on the 18th hole.
“I thought the course was fairly dry, considering all the rain,” Fox said. “But we were able to play lift, clean and place, and that really helped, because my ball plugged in the fairway several times.
“I’m so glad that I got a chance to play on the Bethlehem Central team this year because I had such a great time with my teammates.”
Meanwhile, Tozier, another long hitter, matched Fox’s low round of the day with a sparkling 68.
“It was definitely a little wet out there,” said Tozier. “I had some balls plug on me, but I would say they played the course from just about the same tees they used on Tuesday, which were all the way back. I think the only tee they moved up for us was on the seventh hole. It definitely played longer today than it did on Tuesday.”
Tozier birdied the second, 13th, 15th and 18th holes. His only bogey was on No. 8.
“I just came out and played today. I wasn’t trying to make up any ground or anything like that,” said Tozier. “I wasn’t too nervous. It was more like excitement. I wanted to shoot better than that 78 I had on Tuesday.
“I’m not sure what it was, but I wasn’t as mentally strong on Tuesday as I was today.”
Tozier was ill last year at sectionals and couldn’t make the state team, but he did play two years ago.
“I feel like I can do something out there at Cornell. It’s a nice course, and I’ll probably get a chance to get a practice round out there before the spring rolls around.”
Teal played consistently both days with rounds of 74 and 72.
“I’ll take that consistency every day,” he said. “This will be my second straight year on the state team. It should be a lot of fun. I definitely wanted to get back there after making it last year.”
Teal helped offset three bogeys with birdies on the second and 11th holes.
Qualifiers — Victor Fox (Bethlehem) 68-139, D.J. Tozier (Shenendehowa) 68-146, Austin Teal (Albany Academy) 72-146, Jeff Palmerino (Bethlehem) 77-147, Davis Jensen (Shaker) 72-148, Dylan Gladd (Columbia) 74-148, Jimmy Greg (Shenendehowa) 74-149, Alex Kinkaid (Shenendehowa) 75-152, Matt Parrottino (Voorheesville) 77-153.
Other scores — Cory Purcell (Catholic Central) 77-156, Tim LaSarso (Queensbury) 81-159, Ryan Lynch (Schalmont) 79-159, Christian Flemming (Saratoga Springs) 81-160, Bobby McCarthy (Shenendehowa) 80-160, Jacob Rounds (Broadalbin-Perth) 82-162, Calvin Beckwith (Saratoga Springs) 84-163.