Wheatley's Joseph Dolezal wins the boys golf state championship at...

Wheatley's Joseph Dolezal wins the boys golf state championship at Mark Twain Golf Course in Horseheads, New York. Credit: Henry Kupstas

Joseph Dolezal knew it was now or never.

While the Wheatley senior went to the state championship at Mark Twain Golf Course in Elmira in early June with no expectations of capturing a title, there was a moment when he realized it was possible.

“I was just trying to take it one hole at a time. My goal was to shoot two good rounds and hold my head up high no matter what happened,” Dolezal said. “Around the 13th hole, I knew I wasn’t doing anything special. I needed to make a move.”

It was then that Dolezal turned up the heat.

Trailing by three shots after 12 holes in the final round, he birdied the 13th hole, the first of four birdies over the final six holes to climb the leaderboard.

Dolezal’s birdie at the 18th forced a playoff with Ken Fernandes of Horace Greeley as they finished tied at 6-under par (138) after 36 holes at the two-day boys golf state championships. Both golfers parred the first playoff hole before Dolezal's two-putt par on the second hole won the title after  Fernandes made bogey.

“I felt like I had the advantage because I was on a roll,” he said. “I felt confident. I didn’t want to let off the gas. I was grinding and just trying to keep my focus.”

Dolezal became the fifth golfer from Long Island and fourth from Nassau to capture a state title..

“I couldn’t believe it at first because of how far back I was at the beginning of the round," he said. "It was really surreal."

Dolezal followed that up with a third-place finish in the state Federation tournament the following week, shooting a 3-over-par 74 at Bethpage Black.

Along with being a two-time county champion, Dolezal created the perfect ending for his high school career.

“It’s rare you find somebody that you know is that talented and they live up to it each year,” Wheatley coach Henry Kupstas said. “It’s made it easy to watch him do his thing. This past year he took it to the next level. It was really fun to watch.”

Dolezal will play for St. John’s University next fall, where he hopes to continue reaching new heights.

“It’s just so cool to come out of the state tournament, to even say you're a part of it,” he said. “It's a moment I'll never forget, and now that I have the knowledge of what to do in that moment, a playoff situation, I feel prepared to take my game to the next level next year.”


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