Condello Breaks Through to Win Historic State Amateur
Farmingdale, N.Y. – On a scorching hot, sunny day, at a course that’s a true challenge for even the world’s most skilled golfers, the top amateur players from around New York battled through the final 36 grueling holes of the 95th NYS Men's Amateur Championship at Bethpage State Park’s world-renowned Black Course.
Adam Condello placed a beautiful fairway shot into the iconic eighteenth green and two-putted for par to win the 95th New York State Men’s Amateur Championship by one stroke, with a 3-under par total of 281.
16-year-old Will Thomson, of Oak Hill Country Club, finished as runner-up and almost forced a playoff with Condello, but three-putted for bogey on No. 18 for a final score of 282 (-2).
Condello, not realizing Thomson had bogeyed, assumed he needed a birdie for the victory and had a birdie try from 15 feet, but a par was enough to earn him the venerable state amateur title.
Since the forty-six players who made the second-round cut were in for 36 holes on the long layout today, pairings for both rounds were established in advance. Condello and Thomson who were in first and second through three rounds, respectively, teed off for the final eighteen holes, two groups apart.
Prior to this morning’s round, there were quite a few players in contention, but it was just a two-man race in the afternoon, with Condello and Thomson trading leads a couple times during the fourth and final round.
Condello led the field after both the second and third rounds. Although he carded two rounds over par today with two 72s (on a very tough setup), his opening rounds of 69 and 68, to enter today at 5-under, helped offset the higher scores.
The two-time NYS Boys’ Sub-Junior winner, Thomson, was 1-over par after the first two rounds. Today, he was 3-under par during the final 36, and was only three strokes back from Condello heading into the afternoon loop.
“I wanted to make a few birdies and see what would happen,” said Thomson about the final 18. “You never know what can happen when you put some pressure on the guy in the lead.”
And Thomson did just that. He was 5-under through the first seven holes and played some picture-perfect golf for that opening stretch of the course.
Condello came out firing with birdies on the first three holes, but had a couple of missteps on 4 and 5 to record bogey-bogey. Two groups ahead, was Thomson, who played the same two holes at eagle-birdie.
Thirty minutes earlier, you would have thought Condello was beginning to run away with it. Although after both players were through five, the duo was now tied.
“I had a bad tee shot left (on four) and had to take an unplayable. One- under through five, I was still feeling pretty good about that,” Condello said about the two-hole slip. “It’s a very tough golf course, when you’re out of position a little bit, most of the time you pay for it. This week, I was able to recover a lot.”
He didn’t record his first par of the day until hole six where he made a nice up-and-down to swing momentum back his way. Although the player from Locust Hill Country Club was unable to post another birdie on his round, he continued the composure he demonstrated all week long, and that’s what ultimately propelled him to the victory.
“It feels very good to finally win one,” he said regarding his past success at the state amateur and mid-amateur. “It was a real treat to be out here for three days.”
Condello was runner-up to Trevor Sluman in the 2015 NYS Men’s Amateur at Kaluyhat Golf Club and at age 34, has been runner-up in three NYS Mid-Amateurs as well.
“To win this tournament anywhere would be great, but to win here, it’s like icing on the cake. It just makes it that much more special,” he said with a smirk.
Coming in third was Arthur Griffin of Lake Placid Club, who had the two lowest rounds today (68-70) and climbed up the leaderboard at the end with a 286 (+2).
“I knew I had to do something today. I ended up shooting a bogey-free three under on the final nine yesterday which really gave me some confidence. I finally got some putts to go which is nice,” said Griffin about the low final-day scores.
Ethan Ng, Matt Lowe, and two-time NYS Boys’ Sub-Junior winner Alec Bard finished in the fourth, fifth and sixth spots, respectively.
As the sun set on the final day of competition, Condello walked away with a new piece of hardware, the Ganson Depew Cup.
“Everything about it - my state, the amateur, it being played here (Bethpage Black),” Condello said about the state of euphoria he was in after the victory.