New York’s Finest

Steffen Ties For Fourth At State Tournament; Bethpage Black Is Next

Maple Grove junior Evan Steffen eyes a putt during the final round of the NYSPHSAA boys golf championships Monday at the Mark Twain Golf Course in Elmira. Submitted photo

ELMIRA — For much of the day Monday, Evan Steffen was in the hunt for a state championship.

In the end, he settled for a fourth-place tie.

The Maple Grove junior shot a 3-under 69 and finished the two-day New York State Public High School Athletic Association boys golf championships with a 3-under 141 at the Mark Twain Golf Course on Monday.

“Evan played fantastic. He had two bad swings all day,” Maple Grove head coach Justin Hanft said. “Other than that, he was pretty much flawless all day.”

Steffen’s performance qualified him for the New York State Federation Championships, which will be held on the Black Course at Bethpage State Park on Sunday.

Steffen poses with the leaderboard. Submitted photo

“He takes golf so seriously. He’s invested so much time, effort and energy,” Hanft said. “His family supports him. His dad, Brett, is all in supporting his habit. He’s just such a good kid.”

The Wheatley School senior Joseph Dolezal beat Horace Greeley freshman on the second hole of a playoff after both shot 6-under for the tournament. Fernandes had a three-shot lead heading to No. 18, but his bogey coupled with Dolezal’s back-to-back birdies sent it to a playoff. After a pair of pars on the first playoff hole, No. 1, Fernandes three-putted the second playoff hole, No. 9, and Dolezal tapped in for par and the victory.

Steffen birdied No. 1 on Monday before four straight pars left him 1-under heading to No. 6. After a birdie there, he finished the front nine with three more pars to make the turn at 2-under.

Two more pars at Nos. 10 and 11 sent Steffen to Nos. 12 and 13, still at 2-under.

“He had a good look at birdie on No. 10 and just barely missed over the edge,” Hanft said. “He had another look at birdie at No. 11, an uphill par 3 with a nasty green. The pin was all the way in the back with a slope from top to bottom, really hard.”

Maple Grove junior Evan Steffen, third from right, is pictured with nine of the top 10 finishers from the NYSPHSAA boys golf championships Monday at the Mark Twain Golf Course in Elmira. Submitted photo

On Sunday, Steffen played Nos. 12 and 13 at 2-over, but Monday he reversed course, making birdies at both to get to 4-under on the day and for the tournament.

“He was actually tied for first at that moment. The leader was in the group behind him. They changed No. 13 from a 410-yard par 4 for a 280-yard par 4. If you don’t hit a good shot, you can be in some trouble off the tee,” Hanft said. “They made it short to see if kids would be aggressive.”

Steffen then made double-bogey at No. 14, moving back to 2-under and essentially removing himself from title contention.

“Unfortunately the one on No. 14 cost him two strokes because he had to take a drop,” Hanft said. “We found the ball, but he didn’t feel comfortable playing it out of there. He took the drop and ended up coming up short for a double-bogey.”

Steffen then went birdie-bogey-birdie over Nos. 15-17 to get to 3-under before finishing his tournament with a par at No. 18.

“That’s the best part of Evan. He does not let anything bother him. He’s cool as a cucumber,” Hanft said. “He immediately bounced back on the next hole. All the par 3s play pretty long. Most of them are blind shots. You can see the pin, but you can’t really see the green. No. 15 is just like that. You can’t really see how well your shot ended up. He was about 10 feet and buried the putt.”

The tie for fourth place was the best for a local golfer since Randolph’s Nolan Ditcher tied for fourth as a junior in 2015.

Dunkirk senior Robert Kozlowski followed up his 79 on Sunday with a 78 on Monday to finish tied for 52nd at plus-13 for the tournament.

Kozlowski opened with bogey-par-bogey before a string of four pars left him at 2-over for the round. After a birdie at No. 8, he bogeyed No. 9 to finish the front nine with a 38.

After a par at No. 10, Kozlowski went bogey-birdie before a tough triple-bogey at No. 13. He finished his day 1-over across his final five holes for a 40 on the back nine.

Section VI finished fourth as a team with a seven-man score of 1,058. The team shot 524 on Sunday and 534 on Monday to finish plus-50.

Section I claimed the team title with a 525-507-1,032, good for a plus-24. Section VIII was second at plus-40 and Section V was third at plus-48.

Other Section VI golfers’ scores Monday included: Orchard Park’s Enzo Clerici and Landon Arnold with 75s, Williamsville East’s Tyler Delisanti with a 76, Iroquois’ Adam Cichowski with a 77 and Clarence’s David Brooks with an 84.


REXFORD — The Albany Academies senior Kennedy Swedick won her third straight New York State Public High School Athletic Association girls golf title Monday at the Edison Club.

Swedick ran away from the field with a 66 to finish the two-day tournament at 8-under 136.

Scarsdale junior Emma Lee was second at 3-under and Schalmont senior Dannah Smith finished third at 3-over.

Cassadaga Valley freshman Jocelyn Wintersteen was the highest local finisher in a tie for 57th at 36-over. She matched her Sunday 90 with another 90 on Monday.

Wintersteen went out in 44 and finished her round with a 46 on the back nine. The highlight of her day was a birdie 4 at No. 8.

Fredonia sophomore Sydnee Hoffman finished 66th at 40-over. She matched her Sunday 92 with another 92 on Monday.

Hoffman went out in 45 and finished with a 47 on the back nine. She made three pars on the day, including a par-4 on No. 18.

Fredonia senior Juli Spacciapolli tied for 74th at 46-over. She matched her Sunday 95 with another 95 on Monday.

Spacciapolli went out in 48 and closed with a 47 on the back nine. She made pars at Nos. 5, 7, 12 and 15.

Section II won the team title with a 42-over two-day total of 1,050 after rounds of 523 and 527. Section I was second at 50-over and Section VIII was third at 134-over.

Section VI finished ninth with a plus-243 total of 1,251. Orchard Park’s Claire Brady shot an 81, followed by Clarence’s Kylie Dean’s 88, Clarence’s Tatiana Tutko’s 89 and Orchard Park’s Charlotte Occhino’s 90.


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