THREE-PEAT FOR DEREK BARD-THREE OTHER LOCALS MAKE STATE TOURNAMENT
Junior rolls to win; Jakubowicz, Kalil and Alec Bard also qualify for states
Story Courtesy Nick Sardina-CNYgolfhome.com
HAMILTON – Derek Bard was the heavy favorite to win the Section III title.The New Hartford junior didn’t disappoint, winning his third straight sectional title after carding a 71 to post a 142 total and an eight-stroke victory.
Bard is thought to be the only player to ever win three sectional titles outright.
Cicero-North Syracuse’s Dan Wilkinson won three straight in the mid 1980s – twice outright and once as a co-champion.
“To win this tournament any year is a great feeling,” Bard said. “And knowing I was able to do it the last three years, is very, very pleasing.”
West Genesee’s John Clare shot his second straight 75 to finish second with a 150 total.
Notre Dame’s Mike Kalil was third after a 5-over 77 Saturday and a 155 total.
Two other Tri Valley League competitors – New Hartford’s Alec Bard (161 total) and Whitesboro’s Joel Jakubowicz (162 total) – will also compete at the state tournament, June 3-4 at Cornell University’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Course.
Jakubowicz had to go extra holes to earn his first state berth. The junior had to compete against Frankfort-Schuyler freshman, Dante Migliore and Westhill’s Ryan Conroy for the final two spots.
On the first hole, Jakubowicz made a tough up-and-down from the rough – just outside the green-side bunker to make par to advance with Conroy, who also made par.
Migliore hit a great tee shot and a nice approach that stopped in the back fringe approximately 20-25 feet from the pin. His first putt up the hill stopped five feet short and his par putt burned the edge.
He was eliminated when Jakubowicz knocked in a 3 1/2-footer for par.
“I wasn’t really nervous until the putt,” Jakubowicz said. “I was going to hit it hard enough that if it didn’t go in it was going to go a ways past.”
Also finishing in the top nine and representing Section III at states are: CBA’s Aidan Fuller (160) and Jack Bellardini (160), South Jefferson’s Ryan Clark (161) and Westhill’s Conroy (162).
New Hartford’s Patrick Coughlin (165), Ilion’s Dan North (168) and New Hartford’s Alex Malta (169) were the other locals making it to the second day but missing the cut for states.
Derek Bard entered the day with just a one-stroke advantage over Bellardini, and a four-shot lead over Clare.
Bard quickly ended any doubt about who was in charge as he made birdie 3s on the 1st and 3rd holes, while both Bellardini and Clare got off to rough starts. Bard really never again was threatened, as he just had to keep the ball in front and avoid making big numbers.
Saturday’s scenario was much different than what Bard faced in 2011, when Skaneateles bulldog Eric Edmunds was in striking distance until late in the round.
“It was a little easier than last year,” Bard said. “I got off to a quick start and both Clare and Bellardini struggled early and that gave me some breathing room. So, I just tried to play solid and coast in.”
Kalil and Jakubowicz, both juniors, have been really close and are really excited to experience states for the first time.
“It means everything,” Kalil said. ” I put a lot of work into making a swing change this winter and it has really paid off.”
Kalil was extremely steady both days and could be a factor if his form continues next weekend.
“I putted really well both days,” said Kalil “My ball striking was great today .. I only missed three greens all day.”
Jakubowicz also has been working toward this day for a while.
“Making to states was my goal since I chose to play golf instead of baseball in ninth grade,” Jakubowicz said. “It’s exciting.”
Alec Bard will be making his second state appearance, which is a tremendous accomplishment, considering he is merely an eighth grader.
Alec finished a remarkable ninth at states last year, and fought hard both rounds this week to earn a trip back to Cornell.
“It’s a good thing and a bad thing,” said Alec Bard of making it last year.
“It’s more pressure because now I’m supposed to make it, but now I know what to expect (playing sectionals and states).”
Derek Bard finished fourth at states last year, and will head back for his fourth attempt at the title.
Even if Pittsford-Mendon’s Gavin Hall was playing, Bard would be considered one of the favorites to win in Cornell.
“My goal is to win,” Bard said. “That’s how I approach every tournament.”
If he is to win, he knows one phase of his game will have to improve.”I missed a lot of birdie putts today,” said Bard,” who laughed and said ‘I try not to think about it’ when asked what he could of shot today if he putted well.
“I’m very happy with the way I’m hitting the ball,” Bard said. “I’m hoping my putting gets hot heading to states.”
Section III Tournamentat Seven Oaks GC, Par 72
Qualifiers for State Tournament:
1. Derek Bard (New Hartford) 71-71-142; 2. John Clare (West Genesee) 75-75-150; 3. Mike Kalil (Notre Dame) 78-77 155; 4. Jack Bellardini (CBA) 72-88 160; 4. Aidan Fuller 77-80 160; 6. Ryan Clark (S. Jefferson) 77-84 161; 6. Alec Bard (New Hartford) 80-81 161; 8. Joel Jakubowicz 80-82 162; 8. Ryan Conroy (Westhill) 80-82 162.
8. Dante Migliore (Frankfort) 81-81 162 (lost on first playoff hole); 11. Patrick Coughlin (New Hartford) 79-86 165; 12. Mike McIntosh (Chittenango) 81-85 166; 13. Alec Mosher (Marcellus) 81-86 167; 14. Joe Petrin (C-NS) 79-89 168; 14. Dan North (Ilion) 80-88 168; 16. Andy Leary (Port Byron) 82-87 169; 16. Alex Malta (New Hartford) 82-87 169; 18. Matt Preston (CBA) 82-89 171; 19. Dan O’Hara (Port Byron) 82-93 175; 20. Erik Davis (J-D) 79-WD.