VERONA, N.Y. — Trevor Sluman of Pittsford came to the par-3 15th tee at Kaluhyat Golf Club at Turning Stone nursing a one-stroke lead in the final round of the 93rd New York State Men’s Amateur.
He had just made a disheartening bogey at No. 14. But upon his arrival at the No. 15, he looked to his left and liked what he saw. “They moved the tee forward 20 yards from the third round,” Sluman said. “I didn’t dare go for that flag with a 7-iron in the morning. But with a 9-iron, I had a perfect number.”
Sluman sent the shorter iron sailing over the wetlands fronting the green, the shot coming to rest inches from a hole cut in the back left corner. That birdie and a par-bogey-par finish gave him a 2-over-par 74 and a 72-hole total of 4-under 284, good for a two-stroke victory over Sam Bernstein of Century Country Club in Westchester County and Adam Condello of Locust Hill Country Club in Pittsford.
Scores went up in the afternoon’s final round, despite the New York State Golf Association field staff having shortened the course by several hundred yards. Three consecutive days of sustained prevailing winds near 20 miles per hour and the penal Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed layout had taken its toll on the Empire State’s premier amateurs.
“That was definitely the toughest course I’ve ever played in a 72-hole tournament,” said the 21-year-old Sluman, who graduated from the University of Louisville in May.
Sluman, who began the third round tied for second, trailing Bernstein by two, grabbed the lead with a 69 for 6-under 210 good for a one-stroke advantage over New Hartford’s Derek Bard, who shot 68 in Round Three. Sluman, Bernstein, Condello and Bard remained closely bunched for most of the way.
Condello, a 32-year-old reinstated amateur who had made only five bogeys over the first 67 holes and was 5-under at that point, bogeyed three in a row, Nos. 14-16, to fall out of it. “I had a great ball-striking week, but never got the putter going,” said Condello, who won the Country Club of Rochester Invitational earlier this season.
Bard, the rising junior at the University of Virginia who won the Sunnehanna (Pa.) Invitational last month, would suffer three 6’s in a final round 77 for an even-par 288 total, the last coming at the 401-yard par-4 18th. “The 18th hole sums it up for me; I played the hole 6-over par for the week, and it’s really not that hard”.
Bernstein, paired with Sluman, had played first on the 15th. And the 2014 Yale University grad fired a shot that came to rest 10 feet away. Sluman answered with his shot and a tap-in deuce. Bernstein could not match.
“I really wouldn’t call that a big turning point,” Bernstein said. “I had a lot of shots I struck well hit gusts of wind.”
Sluman, whose uncle, Jeff Sluman, won the amateur in 1978, is not sure he’ll follow suit into the professional ranks.
“I’m headed to Boca Raton, Fla., to be a graduate assistant golf coach at Lynn University, and get an MBA in marketing,” Sluman said. “I’ll be able to play almost every day”.
If he keeps improving, there’s always time to consider turning pro.
More than likely he’ll be back to defend his State Amateur title in 2016. Someone informed Trevor Sluman, that Jeff Sluman missed the cut at Drumlins East in Syracuse in 1979 as defending champion. “He’s gonna hear about that,” the younger Sluman promised.
View results for New York Men's State Amateur Golf Championship