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Six Saratoga County golfers qualify for state tourney

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Diary of a Mad Sportswriter: Six Saratoga County golfers qualify for state tourney

Diary of a Mad Sportswriter

Stan Hudy is a sportswriter for The Saratogian and Community News. He covers high school and youth sports in the Saratoga County area as well as writing a weekly book review on sports books. He's not just a "stick and ball" sportswriter, he's willing to take on any sport as well as any subject.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Six Saratoga County golfers qualify for state tourney

Six golfers from four different Saratoga County schools secured spots on the Section II state team Monday afternoon at Orchard Creek Golf Club in Altamont.

Ryan Simpson, D.J. Dozier from Shenendehowa, Mark Sabatino and Chad Murphy from Stillwater, Kyle Lewis from Saratoga and Spencer Sautin from Saratoga Central Catholic all survived the two-day tournament, extended over a week due to weather, and will represent Section II in June at Cornell.

After the first day of play, the tournament is cut down to the lowest 16 scores and ties. On Monday, only the top nine are placed on the state team.

After two-day scores of 155, Murphy and Guilderland's Jeremy Tobin each parred the first playoff hole to round out the top nine spots.

While some players cruised into the second day of qualifying, shooting low scores last week at Orchard Creek Golf Club and had a cushion prior to the second day of competition where the scores are added together, some struggled to make the state squad.

Shenendehowa senior Ryan Simpson qualified for the second day with a 77, a high for him, but rebounded and fired a 71 Monday for a two-day total of 148, second lowest on the day.

“I bogeyed my first two holes,” Simpson said. “I had to focus and believe that it wouldn’t matter and get back into it.”

One of the biggest surprises came from Shenendehowa sophomore D.J. Dozier who fired the day’s low round with a 70, starting out the right way, with an eagle on the first hole.

“On the first hole I had a good line on the green and was 30-feet away,” Dozier said. “I hit it well; it hit the back of the cup, popped up and fell in.”

Like other golfers, Dozier worked on his game during the break, extended due to poor weather on Friday to Monday’s date.

“My swing felt good and I tuned it up with my coach,” Dozier said. “I practiced that on Sunday and worked on my putting and short game. You need the little stuff to go low.”

Saratoga Catholic junior Spencer Sautin also made the most of the layoff, shooting a 73 on Monday, finishing with a 79-73 152 as the fourth qualifier.

“I knew if I played well I would get in, I wasn’t going to worry about it,” Sautin said. “I didn’t have a strategy. I went out and played, see how the day went.”

Last year Sautin made it through the first day of qualifying, but said ‘he didn’t come to play the second day.’

“My main goal of the season and get into states,” Sautin said. “Today it was my putting. I made a lot of putts from five to 10 feet out.”

Saratoga’s Kyle Lewis earned a spot in the final group on Monday, with Simpson, Sabatino and DiStefano and rode the wave of good golf to his second state tournament.

“Playing in the last group I knew if I could contend with the group I would be in a good spot,” Lewis said. “I didn’t have a lot of birdies, but a lot of pars and a few bogeys.

“I was smooth until 13,” Lewis said. “I bogeyed and then just had a tough finish. I went five-over on the last six. It was a tough finish, but I got it done.”

The most trying day belonged to three-time state qualifier Mark Sabatino who had to control his emotions and sneak in with a 79 on Monday after sharing the top spot last week with a 74 for a two-day total of 153 and the seventh qualifier.

“I started off with three pars and then I bogeyed seven in a row,” Sabatino said who lay down adjacent to the 10th tee box staring at the sky. “I was wondering why I was allowing it to happen.

“My biggest problem with my game is my head,” Sabatino said. “I can hit the ball, I hit the ball well, but I just couldn’t putt.”

Stillwater’s Chad Murphy had to go to overtime Monday afternoon, competing in a four-way playoff as the final two spots were deadlocked at 155 after 36 holes. He pared the first playoff hole, the par four 10th.

“I thought of my dad who tells my ‘just go for par,’” Murphy said. “I was about 100 yards away off the green. I hit it on the green, but my putt went five feet past the hole. I studied it for a while and then I made it.”

Murphy shot a 76 last week and earned his 155 with a 79 on Monday.

“79 was a little higher than I wanted to shoot,” Murphy said. “I thought the course played harder today. The par threes were playing unbelievable hard.”

The state tournament is a first for the Stillwater senior.

“Last year I missed the first cut by two strokes,” Murphy said. “I wanted to make states my senior year.”

Section II state qualifier
1. Tim DiStefano Albany Academy 74-72 146
2. Ryan Simpson Shen 77-71 148
3. D.J. Dozier Shen 79-70 149
4. Spencer Sautin Saratoga Catholic 79-73 152
5. Will Mallia Bishop Gibbons 78-75 153
6. Kyle Lewis Saratoga 76-77 152
7. Mark Sabatino Stillwater 74-790 153
8. Chad Murphy Stillwater 76-79 155
9. Jeremy Tobin Guilderland 79-76 155

10. Matt DeVito Albany Academy 74-81 155
11. Aminseh Hajela Shaker 79-76 155
12. John Farah Niskayuna 77-80 157
13. Seth Adams CBA 79-79 158
14. Lou Walsh Shen 79-80 159
15. Taylor Bellemare Hoosic Falls 77-85 162
16. Justin Brock Albany Academy 79-83 162

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