LOUDONVILLE — A wild, three-shot swing on the final hole between the top two contenders resulted in Matt Stasiak of Clarence capturing the New York State Men’s Amateur Golf Championship on Thursday. The 91st annual event was hosted by the Schuyler Meadows Club.
Victor Fox of Bethlehem, who had led the tournament from the first round, had a two-shot lead going to the final hole, but made a double bogey. Stasiak answered with a 6-foot birdie putt to win by a stroke, thus pulling out the biggest win of his career.
Stasiak was coming off a double bogey on the 17th hole, a 395-yard par-4, then bounced back to make birdie on the 418-yard par-4.
“No. 17 was just a rough double,” said Stasiak. “On 18 I was thinking if I could make a birdie, maybe I could force a playoff. Then I hit one of the best drives I hit all week. I left myself with a gap wedge, which is the perfect distance for me, and I hit it to within six feet.”
Meanwhile, Fox was trying to recover from an errant drive, and an approach shot he hit over the green. He eventually left himself with a 6-footer for bogey. “He played great all day and made every putt he looked at, but he missed,” said Stasiak. “I was lucky enough to make mine, it was crazy.”
Stasiak finished with a 69 to add to his rounds of 71, 72, 72. His final round of 69 was one of only four rounds in the 60s all week. Players played the final two rounds (36 holes) on Thursday.
The birdie was one of 18 Stasiak had in the tournament. His final round of 69 included sinking putts of 30 and 45 feet. He said his short game was solid all week and his ball striking was the best it’s been in a while. He credited his ability to score with the time he put in before the event with local teaching pro Gary Battistoni.
Stasiak, 24, who plays out of Fox Valley, said he was also grateful for the support he had all week, noting that his mother and sister were with him and his father was following his rounds all day on the computer.
“This is the biggest win I’ve ever had for sure,” he said. “There were a ton of people out watching, it was a really cool scene. There were a lot of guys who came from Buffalo, I got a lot of support, people who were telling me I could win it.”
Other local players who made the cut were Thad Wier, Billy Gaffney, Andy Bernatovicz and Kenneth Riter.
The win was Stasiak’s second NYSGA championship of the season as he teamed with Jonathan Clark to win the 2013 state Men’s Four-Ball Championship in May at Leatherstocking Golf Course in Cooperstown. They shot a two-day total of 128 to win.