NY State Am: Jamie Sindelar takes early lead
ELMIRA, N.Y. (July 17, 2012) -- The first round of the 90th New York State Amateur Championship is in the books. It was a day many dreaded from the start because of the forecast for record high heat and Elmira’s hilly terrain. Yet ultimately, the weather stayed cool enough to yield a few low scores, including a new competitive course record by 22-year-old Jamie Sindelar.

Sindelar, playing out of Soaring Eagles Golf Course and Elmira Country Club, carded a six-under-par round (66), not only granting him the lone spot atop the leader board but also shooting his personal best tournament score.

“It went very well” Sindelar said of his round. “I kept the ball in front of me all day and got it inside 20 feet and 10 feet a few times and definitely had my putter going.”

What was truly spectacular about Sindelar’s 66 was the six-under 31 he posted on the back nine after making the turn at even par.” Coming off a solid even par 35 on the front-nine, he opened with a solid birdie on ten and the floodgates opened from there. Birdies on 11, 13, 14, 17 & 18 locked up a back nine 31 and a 3 shot lead on the field.

“It was the steady play I had, it’s the difference between the nines,” says Sindelar when asked about the disparity in his front and back nine scores. “I played very well on the front. I couldn’t make birdies because it’s pretty tough, with the uphill, downhill. On the back, I continued to hit really good shots. And, the greens are so perfect; it’s really easy to make putts.”

It’s safe to say that finding 16 of 18 greens in regulation and needing only 12 putts on the back nine, Sindelar couldn’t ask for a much better round and going into tomorrow, but he expects the more of the same.

“I expect the same as today – keep it in front of me, make some good contact, and get it underneath the hole. Also, I have to try to make the putts.”

Second overall is 26-year-old Billy Hanes, playing out of Crag Burn GC. Hanes carded a three-under-par (69) with five birdies and only two bogeys.

“It went pretty well,” Hanes says of his first round. “I started off on the front, kept it at even after nine and then took to the back and shot three-under [par].”

Although the greens at Elmira are known for the speed, Sindelar and Hanes similarly credited putting as a strong part of their games today.

“I hit [the ball] pretty well and then some shots that weren’t that great” say Hanes. “Mostly though, I putted really well throughout the day.”

Starting on the back tomorrow, Hanes says, “I’ll focus on the same thing, hitting well. Hopefully I’ll get a couple under [on the back] then hold on from there.

Other notable scores include defending NYS Amateur Champion, Dominic Bozzelli and Frank Palumbo, both sitting at two-under-par for the day (70).

“Scoring got pretty difficult in the afternoon, I felt like the wind picked up,” Bozzelli said. “I hit a lot of good shots today with just the one bogey on the first. I feel like 70 is highest I could’ve shot, and still I’m in good position after the first day.”

Overall, Elmira CC was not kind to all as this day squashed more than a few dreams as the players experienced the full brunt of the course’s relentless difficulty. However, one round does not a champion make; the best is yet to come!

ABOUT THE New York State Amateur

This championship is a three-day 72-hole stroke play competition. The field will be cut after 36 holes to the low 40 players and ties. Entries will be limited to male amateur golfers who enjoy membership privileges at Clubs belonging to the New York State Golf Association, or are NYSGA Associate Members.

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