Chelsea Dantonio warmed up for this weekend’s Future Collegians World Tour Invitational Championship event Wednesday by winning her third Section VI girls golf championship in four years.
Before boarding a plane for West Palm Beach, Fla., the Lancaster sophomore shot an 81 at Gowanda Country Club to win by five strokes over teammate Nicole Filipski.
“My short game saved me,” said Dantonio, who won last year’s sectional title with a 78. “I could’ve done way better. My drives are usually straight but today they were a little right and left, but I got away with them.”
Midway through her round, Dantonio held a two-stroke lead over playing partners Sarah Godfrey-Singleton, a Depew freshman, and Marissa DelMonaco, a Southwestern freshman. After taking a triple bogey on hole No. 2 (the group started on No. 9), Dantonio played the final six holes at 2 over par to separate from the pack.
“At first I was just playing but then I knew I had to step my game up a little bit because they were catching up to me,” Dantonio said.
Dantonio won her first sectional title as a seventh-grader and beat eventual state champion Cat Peters in last year’s tournament.
“That definitely gives me a lot of confidence but I also work really hard with my coaches, Al Miller and Cindy Miller, and that also gives me confidence,” she said.
“She’s the most coachable person you’ll ever meet in any sport at any level,” Lancaster coach Jamie Pernick said. “Any work that we would have her do at practice is nothing compared to what she is willing to do individually on her own. Sometimes she’ll hit 1,600 balls a week. It’s not strange for that to occur all through the winter months, all through the spring. When it’s wet out there and the snow is on the ground, she is inside working. And that’s what makes her a cut above the rest.”
After playing in the FCWT event, Dantonio will return to The College Golf Course at SUNY Delhi for the state championship tournament June 8-9. She finished 19th a year ago. The following weekend, she will play in the inaugural women’s Porter Cup at Niagara Falls Country Club.
Godfrey-Singleton and DelMonaco both shot 87 and will join Dantonio and Filipski in the state championship field. Clarence players Jackie Kim, Shelby Cornell and Alexis Kim also qualified, as did Williamsville North’s Jenna Stogsdill and Jamestown’s Kirstie Hanson.