Even before he entered high school, Glenn Watson had ideas about his future with Pearl River golf, ideas that spanned from the modest to grand. First, he just hoped to earn a spot on the team, something he accomplished in eighth grade, then the No. 1 position in the Pirates’ lineup, something he checked off as a junior.
Watson’s third and final goal proved trickier. Finally, in his last chance, his last high school tournament ever, the Pearl River senior found his career closure. He crowned himself as county champ, winning by two shots against a field of Rockland’s best at Rotella Golf Course.
“I achieved all three goals, so I’m happy about that,” he said.
In a tight field of contenders, Watson’s hurrah earned him another honor: The Journal News’ Rockland County golfer of the year. The two-time Section 1 tournament qualifier posted the third-best scoring differential in the county, but his success at the county tournament proved significant on two counts. He became the first Pearl River player since the 1970s to win the individual title and his 4-over 75 also led the Pirates to their first county championship as a team since 1969.
Pearl River’s win doubled as an upset of Tappan Zee, which entered with three of the county’s top four players.
“Our coach was so proud of us that day,” Watson said. “Tappan Zee is a great team. They’ve been great the last couple of years, so it was very special for us.”
That Watson grabbed the individual and team titles might’ve shocked him a few days earlier after he struggled in the first round of the Section 1 tournament. He missed the cut after an 86 at Waccabuc Country Club and he disappointment led to a drastic change during a lesson with coach Shawn Sweeney. Watson decided to switch drivers before counties.
He called it “a risky move,” but one that paid off handsomely.
“I remember on that Monday, I really wanted to qualify for the second round of sectionals,” Watson said. “Since I didn’t make it, I wanted to back it up with the counties. I thought, I could do this. I could play with all these guys. I could win this thing. I was relaxed. I was calm.
“(To win) it did make me feel a lot better. To come back a couple days later and win the counties, it made me feel like the second round (at sectionals) wasn’t as important.”
“Every year at the county tournament, he played better and better,” coach Doug D’Agostino said. “I wasn’t surprised that he shot what he shot this year.”
Watson’s diligence led him to that point. He basically lived at the golf course, and spent hours in the weight room to improve his driving distance by 30 or 40 yards. His scores dropped by nearly 10 shots per nine holes since he joined the varsity. In fact, Watson shot a personal-best 1-under 35 this season at Blue Hill Golf Course.
Now, he will now enroll at St. Thomas Aquinas to study sports management. Always thinking ahead, Watson has set his next goal, and it may clearest of them all: Work in golf.
“What I want to do is be a professional at a country club,” he said. “All I want to do is be around the golf course.”
Don’t doubt him.
Issac Gorenstein, Sr., Tappan Zee
Alex Kayrialou, 8th, Suffern
Shkelqim Kukaj, Jr., Clarkstown North
Frankie Lavery, Jr., Tappan Zee
Angela Tocco, Jr., Tappan Zee
Glenn Watson, Sr., Pearl River (player of the year)
Coach of the year — Chip Foley, Tappan Zee
Tim Burke, Fr., Tappan Zee
Kevin Dorrley, So., Pearl River
Satish Gopalaswamy, Sr., Clarkstown North
Kevin Liebmann, Sr., Clarkstown North
Andrew Ryan, Sr., Nanuet
Timmy Valentine, So., Pearl River
Honorable mention: Miles Capodieci, Sr., Nanuet; Josh Dropkin, Sr., Clarkstown North; Dom Greco, Jr., North Rockland; Ciaran Hennessy, Sr., Pearl River; Sean Lavery, Jr., Tappan Zee; Mike Redgate, Sr., Suffern; Austin Shea, Sr., Clarkstown South; Matt Welsh, Jr., North Rockland.
Rockland boys all-county golf fan voting
Rockland Boys golfer: Tim Burke, Tappan Zee (16 votes)
Rockland Boys first team:
Isaac Gorenstein, Tappan Zee (4 votes)
Angela Tocco, Tappan Zee (4 votes)
Frankie Lavery, Tappan Zee (4 votes)
Glenn Watson, Pearl River (4 votes)
Satish Gopalaswamy, Clarkstown North (2 votes)
Rockland boys coach: Chip Foley, Tappan Zee (25 votes)
Sunday, June 28: Baseball
Monday, June 29: Softball
Tuesday, June 30: Tennis
Wednesday, July 1: Golf
Thursday, July 2: Girls track
Friday, July 3: Boys track
Saturday, July 4: Girls lacrosse
Sunday, July 5: Boys lacrosse