Hard and fast. That’s the way most golf organizations like their championship courses, and that’s exactly the way Colonie Golf & Country Club was set up for Monday’s New York State Amateur local qualifier.
TJ Sumigray and Steve Quillinan Jr. each carded an even-par 72 to lead 18 qualifiers at 78 or better for the 90th annual State Amateur July 17-19 at Elmira Country Club.
Most players found both the fairways and greens hard to hit in regulation, and once the competitors reached the green, their job didn’t get any easier. Colonie G&CC’s speedy and undulating greens forced their share of three-putts, as well.
“The greens were really firm,” said Sumigray, who recently graduated from Saint Peter’s College. “Even with all the rain we had, the greens were still very fast. You had to stay below the hole to score. Today, I only had one three-putt, and that was one of the keys for me.”
Sumigray, who plays out of Fox Run in Johnstown, birdied the eighth, 13th and 18th holes. He three-putted his first hole and failed to get up and down after missing the green on the 10th and 14th holes.
“You had to keep the ball in the fairway to have a decent shot at the greens, so I used a lot of irons off the tee today,” Sumigray said.
“I’ve never played Elmira CC before, but I hear it’s a nice course. It should be a lot of fun.”
Sumigray said he plans on competing on the NGA Tour, the former Hooter’s Tour, next season.
Country Club of Troy’s Quillinan, the winner of last week’s Troy Invitational, continued his recent hot play by matching Sumigray’s even-par medalist round.
“I was just trying to qualify. When I analyzed the field, I figured out just about what you had to shoot, and I figured around par would be plenty good enough,” he said.
“I was trying to enjoy myself and have a good time. I didn’t have any three-putts, and I thought the greens were rolling perfectly. I like them when they are quick.”
Even though Quillinan won the Troy Invitational, he said he tweaked his swing right after that tournament.
“I didn’t like the way I hit the ball in the final round, when I hit only three fairways,” he said. “So I saw my swing coach, Dan Cardella, and we worked some things out. I loved the way I was swinging the club when I won the Burden Lake club championship this weekend, and I was happy with the way I was swinging it today. I usually don’t practice much when I’m hitting the ball well.”
Will Mallia of Pinehaven Country Club earned a trip to the State Am with a 73 that included birdies on the 13th and 15th holes. Tied with 74 were three-time Gazette County Amateur champion Robby Bigley Jr., Austin Teal of Schuyler Meadows and Jeffrey Schaller of Twaalfskill Golf Club.
“I’ve qualified for states just about every year since I started playing competitively at age 15,” said the 28-year-old Bigley. “You just want to post a score good enough to qualify. I wasn’t worried about being the medalist.”
Bigley birdied the first, eighth, 13th and 18th holes.
Teal, who just graduated from Albany Academy, will be playing for Endicott College, near Boston, next season. He birdied the first, second (chip-in) and 13th holes.
Other qualifiers included Matthew Pallottino of Albany Country Club (76), Davis Jensen of Schuyler Meadows (76), Ryan Caponera of Schuyler Meadows (76), Edward Hart of Rolling Hills at Antlers Country Club (76), Zachary Scala of Van Schaick Island Country Cub (76), Jim Gifford of Mohawk Golf Club (76), Taylor Bellamare of Hoosick Falls Country Club (76), John Bogardus of Normanside Country Club (76), Ian Teal of Schuyler Meadows (77), Jay Gargiulo of The Edison Club (77), Jimmy Sullivan of the Country Club of Troy (78) and Corey Purcell of Shaker Ridge Country Club (78).
There will be an open last-chance qualifier on July 15 at Elmira Country Club. That field will be limited to the first 60 entrants.
TJ Sumigray (Fox Run) 72, Steve Quillinan Jr. (CC of Troy) 72, Will Mallia (Pinehaven CC) 73, Robby Bigley Jr. (Pinehaven CC) 74, Austin Teal (Schuyler Meadows) 74, Jeffrey Schaller (Twaafskill GC) 74, Matthew Pallottino (Albany CC) 76, Davis Jensen (Schuyler Meadows) 76, Ryan Caponera (Schuyler Meadows) 76, Edward Hart (Rolling Hills at Antlers) 76, Zachary Scala (Van Schaick Island CC) 76, Jim Gifford (Mohawk GC) 76, Taylor Bellamare (Hoosick Falls CC) 76, John Bogardus (Normanside CC) 76, Ian Teal (Schuyler Meadows) 77, Jay Gargiulo (The Edison Club) 7, Jimmy Sullivan (CC of Troy) 78, Corey Purcell (Shaker Ridge CC) 78.
Other top scores
Lance Hope (Schenectady Municipal GC) 79, Donovan Hunter (Schuyler Meadows) 79, Joseph Parrottino (Albany CC) 79, James Belogna Jr. (Shaker Ridge CC) 79, George Brown (Saratoga National) 80, Nick Osowicki (Fox Run) 80, Justin Deitz (The Edison Club) 80, Ryan Miller (The Sagamore Resort) 80, Tim LaSarso (Kingswood GC).