By Mike Zacchio
Nyack senior Alex Ferrante shot an even-par 71 in the opening round of the NYSPHSAA golf championships Sunday at Robert Trent Jones Golf Course to lead the field of 99 golfers.
Ferrante has been arguably the hottest golfer in the section over the last month, winning the Rockland County championship and losing in a playoff at the Section 1 tournament.
The lefty said that having a focused mental game has taken some of the pressure off his physical game. That, and realizing every shot won’t be perfect.
“With the mental and physical game, it’s all about coming to a focal point,” Ferrante said. “Once you accept (in golf) that you’re probably only going to hit one shot that you really desired … that’s when you can move forward.”
Somers freshman Christian Cavaliere is tied for second in the field after shooting a 2-over 73. Cavaliere shot a tournament-record 69 at Fenway Golf Club in the final round of the sectional tournament to qualify for the state team.
Both locals will be grouped together in Monday’s final round. They are scheduled to tee off at 9:38 a.m. from the first hole. They will be the final group of the tournament.
“He’s a pretty chill kid,” said Ferrante, who had just learned he’ll be paired with the young Tusker. “It’s nice to know that he’ll be there and we can help each other out.”
The last local player to win the state tournament was Ardsley’s Mike Quagliano in 2004.
Section 5 currently leads the team event after shooting 39-over par as a group. Section 1, which has placed in the top three in six of the last seven state tournaments, is currently in fourth place, 11 strokes back.