WESTPORT - Although neither Saranac Lake nor Lake Placid had a golfer win the individual title on the second day of the Section VII championships Friday at Westport, the two schools will be well represented in the state tournament that starts next week at Cornell University.
The Red Storm and Blue Bombers combined to qualify five of the nine players on the Section VII team that is heading to the state championships. After helping the Saranac Lake win the team title Thursday, Ethan Sawyer and Dustin Fischer earned trips to Cornell by finishing second and third, respectively, on Friday. Kiefer Casler, Pat Kane and Bjorn Kroes qualified for Lake Placid, which won the Champlain Valley Athletic Conference regular season championship.
Peru's Jordan Guay rallied from a two-shot deficit at the start of Friday's second round to win this year's Section VII individual title. He combined a 75 Thursday with an 80 Friday to win with a 155 total for 36 holes. The Indians sophomore survived a see-saw battle with Sawyer, who fired a 73 Thursday to carry a two-stroke lead into the final round.
Saranac Lake’s Ethan Sawyer hits out of a bunker during play Friday at the Section VII championships in Westport. Sawyer finished in second place overall.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
Pat Kane hits out of a tough lie during Friday’s second round of the Section VII golf championships at Westport.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
The two were tied for the lead with four holes remaining in the match, but Sawyer struggled down the stretch while Guay wrapped up his round with two birdies and a pair of pars to win by four strokes.
"I was crushing my drives, and that's what did it for me," Guay said. "I was driving a little longer than Ethan, and I think that made a difference. It's pretty awesome coming out on top."
Sawyer, a junior, followed his first day one-over par round with an 86 for a runner-up 159 total to earn a berth in the state championships for the second year in a row.
This year's sectional championships couldn't have been a more up-and-down experience for Fischer, a senior who has played a key role in helping the Red Storm win six championships during his four years on the team. Fischer was in a three-way tie for first place after opening the tournament with a 37 on the front nine, and then fell eight strokes off the pace with an 81 when play concluded Thursday. In the second round, he finished with a 79, the lowest score of the day, to wind with a 160 total and a shot behind Sawyer.
Despite coming up short of winning the individual title at Westport, Fischer said he's excited to be heading back to Cornell.
"It didn't happen here for me, so Cornell is my last chance to do something special," Fischer said. "I love that course, and I have played well there, so hopefully, I can make something special happen. I'm thrilled to be going back there again."
This marks the 15th season that John Glinski has been the coach of the Lake Placid golf team. Last week, his players went undefeated to capture the CVAC title for the first time since the mid 1990s, and on Friday, three Blue Bombers advanced to Cornell, to provide their coach with career highlight leading the team.
"I've had two players go to Cornell, but never three, and that's fantastic," Glinski said. "It's a great showing for Lake Placid and Saranac Lake, and I'm really happy for my guys."
Casler was the top finisher for the Blue Bombers, placing fifth overall with a 171 total. He fired an 80 to stand in third place after the opening round, and although he struggled with a 91 Friday, it was good enough to earn the junior a second trip to Cornell in as many seasons.
Pat Kane placed seventh with rounds of 89 and 87 and a 176 total.
The final two berths on the Section VII state championship team, as well as the alternate position, had to be decided by a playoff after four golfers were tied for eighth place with 177 totals. Two of those players, Kroes and Miles Lussi were Blue Bombers. They were joined by Tanner Courcelle of Saranac Lake and Moriah's Dylan Scozzafava. In the end, Kroes and Scozzafava advanced and Courcelle wound up the alternate.
Six Blue Bombers and five Red Storm golfers reached the second round of the sectional tournament. Also for Lake Placid, Ryan Kane finished with a 178 and Lucas Strack posted a 180.
Also for Saranac Lake, Austin Ecret finished with a 181 and Danny Strack had a 189 total while wrapping up their golf careers for the Red Storm.