The first hole of a golf course can make you or break you. It can set the tone for the entire day.
In Mark Reilly's case, his performance on the first hole of Bethpage Black foreshadowed what turned out to be a struggle in the boys state Federation golf championship. The junior from St. John the Baptist double-bogeyed the par 4 and could not get in a groove the rest of the day, shooting 6-over-par 78 to finish in fourth place. "I got off to a pretty bad start," Reilly said. "It was tough to bounce back from that . . . "
Reilly actually finished tied for third place, but he did not play a tiebreaker because an outside obligation forced him to leave immediately after 18 holes.
Reilly said he was confident coming into the tournament after winning the Long Island CHSAA title and finishing second in the state CHSAA championship. He said his ball striking off the tee was not as good as he hoped and that forced him into some difficult situations.
"I had some bad breaks out there," he said. "I was in the rough a lot, and that rough is pretty thick. It was tough to get out of."
Reilly, already committed to play golf at the University of Richmond, still has another year at St. John the Baptist to hone his skills. Though he's played his last high school tournament of this season, he said he will be playing at least 12 amateur tournaments over the summer.
"There's still next year," Reilly said. "I just want to keep playing good golf and do the best I can in all my tournaments so I can get better."
After winning the state CHSAA title, Fordham Prep freshman Cameron Young doubled up by winning the Federation title with a par 72.
Holy Trinity sophomore Chris Lambrou and New Hyde Park freshman Chris Yeom finished in a three-way tie for seventh with Owen Elliot of Horace Mann. All three scored 81, but Lambrou did not play the tiebreaker, so he officially finished ninth. Yeom parred the first-hole playoff to finish eighth behind Elliot, who birdied to take seventh.
Other Long Islanders of note include Syosset sophomore Willis Huynh (82) and Holy Trinity senior Andrew Rosch (92).
Northport's Unger third.Northport senior Krissy Unger finished in third place in the girls state championship, shooting a two-round, 6-over 150 at SUNY Delhi. The two-time defending Suffolk champion had her best performance at the state tournament and will golf for Quinnipiac next season.
Section VI's Kat Peters won the title with a 3-over 147.
Syosset freshman Elizabeth Choi also shot 150, but finished fourth on a tiebreaker. Garden City Maroon's Samantha Sessa (154) finished fifth and Mount Sinai's Kristina Ly (160) was 10th.