Most golf playoffs are filled with high pressure and, at least for one, heartbreak.
Tuesday’s playoff hole at the Rockland County high school girls golf championships featured smiles, hugs, and more smiles.
Suffern senior Sam Cimillo edged her freshman teammate Ashley Sullivan, par to bogey, to capture this year’s county title at Minisceongo Golf Club. Both girls carded scores of 46 on the course’s front nine.
“I’m really good friends with Ashley. I love her, she’s so cute,” Cimillo said upon finding out about the tie. “It was fine — if she won, I wouldn’t care. If I won, I knew she wouldn’t be mad at me.
“It was good because I knew it would be me and her in the first two spots and it would be Suffern girls and (Suffern teammate) Rachel (Ollis) in third.”
The Mounties rolled to a fifth consecutive team championship, beating Clarkstown for the top spot 250-271. North Rockland and Nanuet rounded out the field with scores of 333 and 346, respectively.
After nearly identically-straight drives, Sullivan hit her second shot fat, sending it just yards ahead of where she was standing.
“I guess when I found out my dad was here, I got a little nervous,” Sullivan half-heartedly joked. “I’m happy for (Sam), because if I was a senior, I’d want to win if it was against my teammate, too.”
While Sullivan’s success was a bit of a shock to herself, Suffern coach Bill Kunzmann expected nothing short of what the freshman has done all season.
“She’s had a great year. She’s been in the 40s probably six times out of her 10 matches this year. She’s a real solid golfer,” Kunzmann said.
Ironically, Kunzmann said that Sullivan’s mental toughness is what separates her from most freshmen.
“Sam Cimillo had her experience last year where she was disappointed in her finish at the county championships,” he said. “Ashley, being a freshman playing in the county championship, of course you’re going to be a little nervous.
“She still got 5 on the hole, it wasn’t like she blew up that much; she made Sam Cimillo par the hole to win the championship. (Ashley) is going to have a great high school career in golf, that’s for sure.”
Watching from the sidelines was two-time reigning champion Katie Delango of North Rockland, who has been sidelined with a hip injury for the last month.
“I couldn’t accept it,” said Delango, who went to the doctor at 5:30 a.m. before the tournament, hoping for a last-minute approval. “It was killing me to just look at everyone playing. I wanted to be out there.”
Because the injury has limited Delango, the only Rockland representative on last year’s state team, to just four matches this season, she will not be eligible for the section tournament on May 21.