Emily Montagnino is cool and collected in both victory and defeat, coaches and teammates said. On Tuesday, that demeanor helped produce her biggest victory as a high school golfer.
Montagnino, a junior from Smithtown West, shot a 163 over two days at Middle Island Country Club to win the Suffolk Individual Girls Golf Championship. Montagnino shot an 8-over 79 on Tuesday after shooting an 84 on Monday.
“It’s a good feeling,” said Montagnino. “My putting was a lot better on the second day, and that helped,” she added. That was evident, as she birdied the sixth hole on Middle Island Dogwood and was also even over the final three holes to edge teammate Paige Diecidue by one stroke.
Coach Valerie Flora said the performance was indicative of Montagnino’s unflappable nature. “Emily hands you the scorecard and you don’t know if she shot 100 or 72,” she said. “That’s to her benefit.”
Montagnino and Diecidue were even with five holes remaining, before Montagnino shot a four to make par on the seventh hole on Middle Island Spruce and Diecidue shot a 5.
“Emily and Paige, you can’t get two girls who work harder,” Flora said. “And they want the best for each other.”
“I’m really proud of Emily,” Diecidue said. “She’s really a role model for me because she always sets a really positive example and is always a great companion to play with.”
Montagnino, who also qualified for the state tournament for the third time, is now the second member of her family to win a county individual golf championship, after her brother Robert won the boys’ title in 2015.
Sayville won the county team title for the second straight season, led by Ceili Howland (166) and Hannah Niggemeier (170), who finished third and fourth. The Golden Flashes posted an aggregate team score of 949 to beat out Commack (969), Smithtown West (972), and Smithtown East (979).
“We worked really hard, everyone played hard and we’re happy with the result,” Howland said.
Sayville’s strong first day turned out to be the difference, as Niggemeier shot an 82, Howland shot an 84 and Hailey Keyser shot a 91 on Monday. This helped the Golden Flashes post a team score of 459 which was 23 strokes better than the next-best team.
Added Niggemeier: “We stayed focused and we all put the effort in.”
In addition to Montagnino, Diecidue, Howland and Niggemeier, Mount Sinai’s Jade Hartcon (172), Commack’s Ava Zimmerman (175) and Stephanie Miller (181), Hauppauge’s Nadia Truglio (184), and Bay Shore’s Kelly Cockerill (185) also qualified for the state tournament. The competition begins on June 2 at Bethpage State Park.