BAKERS’ DOZEN OUT OF 96 ENTRIES FOR NYS AM
By Bob Weiner
VOORHEESVILLE – Several Shaker Ridge Country Club members, including new Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute head golf coach Jamie Jackson, had Colonie Golf & Country Club’s number during Monday’s New York State Amateur local qualifier.
Jackson, 23, shot a sizzling 69 (-3), while fellow Shaker Ridge CC members Josh Powers (71) and Corey Purcell (74) finished second and fourth, respectively, to lead 13 qualifiers for next month’s NYS Amateur Golf Championship at Bethpage State Park’s Black Course in Farmingdale. The cut for qualifying was a 76.
“I made a lot of good, clutch putts today,” Jackson said. “It could have been a 66 easy. I think my longest putt was an 18-footer for par on the fourth hole that really kept my round going.”
Jackson, one of RPI’s all-time best golfers before just being named the Engineers’ head coach this week, birdied the first, sixth, ninth, 10th, 17th and 18th holes to offset bogeys on the fifth, seventh and 11th holes. He hit 15 greens in regulation.
“I thought the course was in great shape. I tried to stay composed, and that was the key,” he said. “I thought the greens today were very scoreable. It was soft out there.”
Jackson said he was very excited about playing the Bethpage State Park Black Course layout:
“I played there once before, and I shot a 76. I’m hoping to play at least that well or maybe better. There is a lot of history there. Playing on a course where I’ve seen the pros play on TV is very exciting.”
Jackson averaged a team-best 76.7 strokes over 18 rounds as a senior captain for the Engineers. He was an All-Liberty League and All-Region performer in 2015-16 and had four top-10 finishes. As a junior, he played 10 tournaments and won four of them. He had three top-10 finishes over his first two seasons at RPI. He is the only golfer in RPI history to earn National Academic All-America accolades and posted a 3.94 cumulative GPA as a biomedical engineer. The Belfast, Maine native was the 2016 Richard S. Lyons Male Career Athlete and was also the Liberty League Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year that same season. He’s lived in Troy since 2012.
Since the head golf coaching position is only part-time, he’ll keep his day job – as an engineer at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.
Powers, a 26-year-old Niskayuna High School graduate, works for the New York State Dormitory Authority. This was his first time playing in the NYS State Amateur qualifier.
“The greens were soft, and I loved the way they putted for me,” said Powers, who birdied the 14th and 17th holes. “I’ve never played Bethpage before, and I’m very excited.”
Austin Teal, a graduate of Albany Academy and Endicott College in Massachusetts, is a former CCC Golfer of the Year and a two-time member of the Section II New York State golf team. Although the member of Schuyler Meadows had a four-putt and a three-putt, he played solidly enough to earn a chance to play Bethpage Black.
“I’ve never played it before, but I’m looking forward to playing it,” Teal said. “It’s a great course, and I know it’s tough. I hear you’ve got to hit it long and straight. I’ve got the long part, but I hope I’ve got the straight part, too.”
Purcell, 22, a College of Saint Rose standout who competed in the NCAA Division II Championships this spring, started out strong but limped home on the back nine. “The back nine got a little rough,” he said. “I didn’t have any three-putts, but I didn’t hit the ball very well the entire back nine. It means a lot to me to go back and play Bethpage again. It’s a cool course. I played it once with my dad when I was about 14. It was tough, but a lot of fun. I’m not sure my dad can carry my bag this time.”
Also shooting 73 was Thomas Corrigan of Ardsley Country Club. Jimmy Greene of Kingsbury National Golf Course matched Purcell’s 74.
SPIRIT OF 76
Leading the group at 76 was Mohawk Golf Club’s Brandon Haase, who earned a NYS Amateur berth with an eagle on the 18th hole.
Other players who shot 76 were Carter Fritch, a lefty, of the NYSGA eClub-Capital District, Denver Brown of The Whippoorwill Club, Jackie Barnes of the Centennial Golf Club, Thomas Donegan of the NYSGA eClub-Capital District, Gray Barnes of Centennial GC and Marcus Cigna of Trump National GC. Fritch, who plays most of his golf at Hiland GC, was last year’s qualifying medalist at Hiland. Brown is the son of former Skidmore golf coach and athletic director Tim Brown.
69 (-3) Jamie Jackson (Shaker Ridge CC)
71 (-1) Josh Powers (Shaker Ridge CC)
73 (+1) Austin Teal (Schuyler Meadows Club)
73 (+1) Thomas Corrigan (Ardsley CC)
74 (+2) Corey Purcell (Shaker Ridge CC)
74 (+2) Jimmy Greene (Kingsbury National GC)
76 (+4) Gray Barnes (Centennial GC)
76 (+4) Carter Fritch (NYSGA e-Club-Northeast)
76 (+4) Jackie Barnes (Centennial GC)
76 (+4) Marcus Cigna (Trump National GC)
76 (+4) Brandon Haase (Mohawk GC)
76 (+4) Thomas Donegan (NYSGA e-Club-Capital District)
76 (+4) Denver Brown (Whippoorwill Club)