A wild finish to the Club Championship at Partridge Run Golf & Country Club on Sunday saw 17-year-old Sam Sieminski emerge victorious in a field that included mostly his friends at the top of the leaderboard.
After a first-day 79, Sieminski sat four strokes behind 16-year-old Ryan Jones, and one stroke behind 17-year-old Nate Romano in third place for the championship.
“I knew I was going to have to make a huge jump, Ryan had a four-shot lead on me and Nate had a one-stroke lead on me,” Sieminski said. “It was something you dream of as a kid, all of my friends in the lead group on the last day of the men’s club championship as 16 and 17 year olds. It was a tough day.”
To add to the on-course suspense, the weather was less than ideal for golf. Temperatures were in the high-50s with intermittent rain putting a damper on the final round. Jones and Sieminski battled for the lead down the stretch on the back nine, but the final hole proved to be the deciding one for Sieminski.
“Ryan was up one going into 18 and I knew I needed something big so I played it aggressively, pulled out the driver and put it right where I wanted to be, dead center fairway 120 yards out,” Sieminski said.
Jones was not so fortunate off the tee on 18, and eventually finished the hole with a bogey. Sieminski’s approach shot from his favorable position landed just three feet from the hole, where he was able to finish up for birdie and earn his first club championship victory in his first-ever attempt.
Both Jones and his father, Aaron, finished one stroke back, a fact Sieminski was not aware of after he walked off the green on 18.
“I knew I had beat Ryan but his dad was only one stroke back of me coming into the second day so I was still nervous walking into the clubhouse,” he said.
The dramatic finish and eventual victory tops a memorable golf season for Sieminski. After a trip to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) state championship, back-to-back victories on the North Country Junior Golf Tour and several other competitive rounds throughout the summer, winning at home will stick with him for years to come.
“When I found out I had won by a stroke I realized I had accomplished something I’ve always dreamed of,” he said. “Winning my first ever club championship the first time I competed in the men’s division is a memory I will never forget.”