Not every scholastic golfer had the same goal in Tuesday’s Section II Class ABCD Playoffs at Orchard Creek.
A few elite players had their eyes on medalist honors, but most of the field was hoping to earn a spot among the final 16 players who will tee off Thursday for the right to represent the section at next spring’s New York State Public High School Athletic Association Championships.
Victor Fox of Bethlehem was a member of the former group; Aaron Simone of Niskayuna was part of the latter.
“I had a good ball-striking round. I hit the ball great, but I had a few putting issues here and there,” said Fox, who fired a two-under-par 69 to earn medalist honors in his third consecutive event.
“All in all, it was another good round. I’m hitting the ball very well right now, and I’m playing with a lot of confidence.”
The Maryland-bound Fox was the co-medalist last Wednesday with a three-under 69 at the Class A tournament at Town of Colonie Golf Course, and he was also the medalist at the Suburban Council Championships at Van Patten.
Meanwhile, Simone, this year’s Gazette Newspaper in Education Capital District Junior champion at Schenectady Municipal, tied for second with a 72, and has his sights set on making the state squad once again.
“I made it to the states as a sophomore, and I really want to go back,” said Simone, who is looking at Siena, Binghamton or Saint Rose as his college choices. “Obviously, my goal is to make the state team. I wasn’t worried about any other golfer out there. I’m not at Victor’s level to be worrying about medalist honors or anything like that.”
Fox, the premier junior golfer in the area all summer, started his round like he was going to go very low. He birdied the par-5 opening hole and then eagled the par-5 third hole after reaching the front of the green with a 6-iron and nailing a 30-foot putt.
“I was already three-under-par, but then I went downhill from there,” he said with a sigh.
Fox’s most frustrating hole of the day was a three-putt bogey from four feet on the fifth hole. “I thought I made a good putt, but I think I dissected it too much and thought too much about the break and the speed,” he said.
On the seventh hole, he ended up with a double bogey when he hooked his tee shot into the woods and ended up with an unplayable lie.
“I was already back to even par, and I wasn’t feeling that great any more,” Fox said.
Another unplayble lie led to a bogey on the 12th hole, but he drove the green on the short par-4 14th hole and two-putted for birdie to get back to even before closing with birdies on the 17th and 18th holes.
“I had just one or two bad swings today,” said Fox, who won an AJGA event in Rochester this summer and also competed in both the USGA Junior Amateur and the PGA Junior Championship.
“This round should set me up for Thursday’s round. I want to play on the state team, and I want to play well.”
Simone was consistent with his round, posting 14 pars. He suffered a bogey on the fifth hole and a double bogey on No. 17, but he offset those holes with birdies on the 12th and 17th.
“My ball-striking was so bad on the front, but I was putting and chipping very well. I just grinded it out on the back,” Simone said.
“I figured the greens out today. I figured that they were going to be a little slower, because they were wet, so I cut down the breaks on the putts and hit them a little firmer.”
Matt Parrottino of Voorheesville, who was the Class C-D medalist with a four-under-par 68 at Schenectady Municipal last week, matched Simone’s 72.
“It was definitely an up-and-down round for me,” said Parrottino, who birdied the third, fifth and 12th holes but bogeyed the fourth, seventh, 10th and 13th.
“At times, I played pretty well, but I also made some stupid mistakes. I hit a lot of fairways today, but then I missed a two-foot birdie try on the 11th hole, and that really shook me up. All in all, it was a pretty solid day. I can’t complain.
“I made states last year, and I’m hoping to get back. When you play pretty well in the first round, it gives you a good shot of making the team in the second round, because it’s hard to come back from four or five shots back on the second day.”
Also advancing to Thursday’s state qualifier, where nine spots on the Section II team will be up for grabs, were Corey Purcell of Catholic Central (74), Luke Goldstock of Niskayuna (74), Alex Gibson of Glens Falls (75), Bobby Caniff of Shaker (75), Davis Jensen of Shaker (75), Calvin Beckwith of Saratoga Springs (76), Tom Kenneally of Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (78), Brian Daley of Niskayuna (79), Josh Fonda of Gloversville (79), David Renko of Scotia-Glenville (80), Mike Dwyer of Scotia-Glenville (80), Thomas Cassidy of Albany Academy (80) and Matt Mastrianni of Bethlehem (80).
Greg Scott of Greenwich (80) lost on the third hole of a playoff for the final spot.
Qualifiers — Victor Fox (Bethlehem) 69, Aaron Simone (Niskayuna) 72, Matt Parrottino (Voorheesville) 72, Luke Goldstock (Niskayuna) 74, Corey Purcell (Catholic Central) 74, Alex Gibson (Glens Falls) 75, Bobby Caniff (Shaker) 75, Davis Jensen (Shaker) 75, Calvin Beckwith (Saratoga Springs) 76, Tom Kenneally (Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake) 78, Brian Daley (Niskayuna) 79, Josh Fonda (Gloversville) 79, David Renko (Scotia-Glenville) 80, Mike Dwyer (Scotia-Glenville) 80, Thomas Cassidy (Albany Academy) 80, Matt Mastrianni (Bethlehem) 80.