Thomas Finn of Locust Valley watches his second shot hit...

Thomas Finn of Locust Valley watches his second shot hit the ninth green during the Nassau individual golf championship and state qualifier on the Red Course of Bethpage State Park on Wednesday, May 25, 2022. Credit: Peter Frutkoff

Thomas Finn stood over his ball on the 18th green Wednesday morning knowing another Nassau boys golf championship was just one putt away.

And just like he did last year, the Locust Valley senior knocked it in, capping a two-over-par 72 on Bethpage Red and a 36-hole score of 142 (the first round was on the Blue) to capture his second straight Nassau title.

“I was just hitting it off the planet today but I knew if I just kept it back in play and I could make pars I’d win,” Finn said. “I just had to keep myself mentally there.”

Although he wasn’t thrilled with how he played overall, his second- round score was still four shots better than when he won last year on Bethpage Blue.

“I think last year I played poorly finishing up,” he said. “This year I actually think I hit the ball worse but I was able to get up and down and save a bunch of pars. I went two-over today and only hit four or five fairways so I’ll take it. Two-over isn’t a great score for my expectations but I kept it together so I was happy about that.”

Manhasset’s Alex Gore shot 144 to finish second and Jack Estrella of Friends Academy shot 145 to place third. Gore and Joseph Dolezal, who shot 147 and finished fourth, birdied the par-three 17th to draw a shot closer, but Finn never allowed the pressure to get to him.

“I trusted my ability to put up a good score on 18,” he said. “This game is about focusing on your own stuff so whatever happens, if they make birdie, I can’t control that. I can only control what I can do so I knew if I just kept doing what I was doing the whole day I’d be fine.”

“He’s tough and he plays a lot of golf,” Locust Valley coach Julie Feltman said. "The more you play and the more you’re in those tough situations the easier it gets. He works harder than anybody I’ve ever had on the team, and it shows.”

The top-three finishers will be joined by six other Nassau golfers in the state tournament at the Mark Twain Golf Course in Elmira on June 5 and 6. Sean Shallat of Friends Academy, Bryan Zhao of Jericho, Garden City’s Mark Vitels, Port Washington’s Bryce Karty and CJ Merritt of Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK were the other qualifiers.

Estrella and Shallat helped lead Friends Academy to first place in the team competition, finishing with a total of 771 strokes. Jericho was second with 798 and Manhasset was third with 799.

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