Make it four Section VI girls golf championships in five years for Chelsea Dantonio.
The Lancaster junior shot a 5-over-par 77 Wednesday at Gowanda Country Club to earn a four-stroke victory and continue her stretch of dominance.
Even with the past success, Dantonio showed up just as focused, ready to defend her title and meet the high expectations that existed. “I was really nervous for today because I felt like I was expected to win,” she said, “but I know you can’t think of that. I just came out here and I tried to do my best. I was nervous in the beginning, but I relaxed myself and I was able to win it again.”
The win has Dantonio advancing to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association championship, where she finished fourth a year ago. Her fifth trip to states will be June 13-15 at SUNY Delhi.
On Wednesday, she shot a 1-over 37 on the first nine holes and followed that up with a 40 on the back nine.
Dantonio played consistently throughout, even on a day when she felt she wasn’t at her best. She parred 11 holes and bogeyed six.
“Today was a little rough,;” said Dantonio, who won the championship last year with a round of 81. “It was an up-and-down type of day, but I managed to pull through. I was getting a little tired at the end, but I had to get myself out of it. ... I didn’t think I was hitting my clubs that solid, so all throughout the round I was trying to fix things. It was coming together a little bit at the end, so that was good.”
Her only birdie was on the par-4 17th hole. She tapped in and gave a slight pump of her right fist, knowing a third straight sectional title was hers.
“That definitely helped,” Dantonio said with a smile. “I was waiting for a birdie putt all day. It was getting frustrating, but I didn’t get worse than a bogey so that was good.;”
The top nine in the 26-player field qualified for the state championship. Also moving on are Depew’s Sarah Godfrey (81), Clarence’s Alexis Kim (85), Southwestern’s Leigh Yartz (87) and Marissa DelMonaco (94), Lancaster’s Nicole Filipski (88), Jamestown’s Kirstie Hanson (102) and Williamsville North’s Jenna Stogsdill and Samantha Stanford (both 102). Godfrey, Kim, Filipski, DelMonaco, Stogsdill and Hanson are all repeat qualifiers.
Godfrey, a sophomore, overcame a slow start to finish as the runner-up after placing third the last two years.
She had a triple-bogey on the par-5, 407-yard hole No. 2 but recovered with strong drives and clutch putting.
Godfrey, playing in a group with Dantonio and DelMonaco for the second year in a row, birdied Nos. 4 and 11.
“I struggled with some shots,” she said. “My drives were good but it was a little hard with the sogginess. I thought I’d get higher than an 81, so I did better than I thought.”