By Josh Thomson
Just before 5:30 Tuesday night, James Nicholas and a few of his Scarsdale teammates pulled into the parking lot at Fenway Golf Club. They were scrambling, hoping to squeeze in a round before darkness on the course where Section 1 will crown this year’s golf champion.
Three of Nicholas’ teammates are Fenway members, but they’ll face plenty of competition with the leaderboard populated by most of the section’s top players.
“It’s going to be a good finish,” Nicholas said.
Indeed. Ardsley sophomore Brent Ito shot a 75 in Tuesday’s opening round at Mahopac Golf Club, but he was joined at the top by an unusually high number of top qualifiers. Most will sit within shots of the lead when the final round begins Thursday.
Nicholas, a junior and the No. 3 qualifier, tied for second with teammate Josh Goldenberg, the No. 5 qualifier. They were two shots behind Ito, the No. 2 qualifier. The top qualifier, Somers sophomore Christian Cavaliere, was three back and tied for fourth with Bronxville’s Martin Jensen.
Because of their regular-season scoring, Ito, Nicholas and Cavaliere teed off in the first group Tuesday. They will reconvene in the last group on Thursday at 10:50 a.m.
“It’s really fun,” Ito said of the competition. “Me, James and Christian are really close friends, so it was fun and competitive at the same time.”
Added Nicholas: “We’re happy to be back together.”
Despite gusting winds and hard greens, Ito played the front nine in 1-under par thanks to three birdies in a five-hole stretch. He scuffled to a 41 on the back, but the difficult conditions kept him in front.
“I was very surprised,” he said, “but I knew scores weren’t going to be that low because it was so windy and the greens were so hard and tough. Even though I was making mistakes, I knew other kids would make the same mistakes as me.”
Nicholas, a long-hitting, three-sport star, actually failed to birdie all day, but kept himself in position to win and qualify for the state team. So did Cavaliere, a Mahopac member who was the 2013 runner-up to former Mahopac star Luke Feehan in the club championship.
“One of my goals was to win and I still think I have a pretty good shot at that, but making the state team is more important,” said Cavaliere, who, along with Ito, was one of five returning state qualifiers.
The top 30 and ties made the cut Tuesday, but only the top nine finishers on Thursday will earn a berth into the state tournament at Cornell from May 31-June 2.
Section 1 boys golf championship
At Mahopac Golf Club, par 70
1. Brent Ito (Ardsley) 75
T2. James Nicholas (Scarsdale) 77
T2. Josh Goldenberg (Scarsdale) 77
T4. Christian Cavaliere (Somers) 78
T4. Martin Jensen (Bronxville) 78
T6. Connor Daly (Bronxville) 79
T6. Anthony Scarcella (Scarsdale) 79
T8. Sol Thompson (Scarsdale) 80
T8. Kyle Hover (John Jay-EF) 80
T8. Nils Carlson (John Jay) 80
T11. Bear Carlson (John Jay) 81
T11. Justin Stagg (Harrison) 81
T11. Matt Bettino (Bronxville) 81
T11. Nick Delfico (Fox Lane) 81
15. Matthew Minerva (Valhalla) 82
T16. Nikhil Sodhi (Scarsdale) 83
T16. Jack Maresca (Rye) 83
T16. Chris Gay (Bronxville) 83
T16. Jordan Sanyshyn (Brewster) 83
T20. Taikan Nakada (White Plains) 84
T20. Angela Tocco (Tappan Zee) 84
T20. Jackson Harrower (Byram Hills) 84
T23. Jonny Emmerman (Scarsdale) 85
T23. Aidan McDermott (Pleasantville) 85
T23. Harrison Moyle (Briarcliff) 85
T23. James Baker (Scarsdale) 85
T27. Isaac Gorenstein (Tappan Zee) 86
T27. Mike Hanrahan (Yorktown) 86
T27. Kyle McCloskey (John Jay-EF) 86
T27. Harry Nikel (John Jay) 86
T31. Brendan Trainor (White Plains) 87
T31. Jake Fanelli (Brewster) 87
T31. Gary DelVecchio (Eastchester) 87
T31. Glenn Watson (Pearl River) 87