Two teenage girl golfing phenoms waged a stirring battle on the Yellow Course at Bethpage State Park on Long Island Sunday in the New York State Public High Schools Championship.
When it was over, Medina High sophomore Melanie Green came out on top, calmly shooting a 2-under par 70 in Sunday’s second round to hold off an Arnold Palmer-like charge of seventh-grader Bailey Shoemaker of Unadilla Valley in Section IV.
It was a signature victory for Green, who has won the last two Section VI girls golf championship. She fired six birdies, two on the last three holes for a 138 total. Green shot 4-under 68 in the first round on Saturday.
Shoemaker, who is only 13 and the defending NYSGA Girls Champion, was even better. She shot 65 for a final 140 but couldn’t overcome the seven-stroke advantage Green took into Sunday’s round. That was despite seven birdies and 11 pars with no bogeys and in her round over the 5,721-yard layout in Farmingdale.
"I was really close last year so I really wanted to get this one," said Green, who started out as a one-girl team at Medina last year.
"It feels great, absolutely great," she added. "I played fine. I really like this course."
Green was third with a 145 on the same course last year, five strokes behind the winner.
There was little head-to-head drama in the final round because Green and Shoemaker played in different groups and finished their rounds at about the same time because of the shotgun start.
"Around the 15th or 16th hole I asked my coach if anybody was making a run," Green said. "He told me Shoemaker was 1-under." That was a bit of an understatement. Nevertheless, Green birdied the par-3 16th and the par-5 17th then locked it up with a par on the 330-yard 18th.
The Medina star led the Section VI team to second place in the sectional competition. Elena Lopez (Clarence) shot 84 Sunday for a 163 total, the best Section VI score after Green. Clarence was second in the schools team scoring with 348-357-705.
Other Section VI scores: Angeline Perillo (Lancaster) 81-172, Amanda Gaffney (Williamsville East) 86-172, Brenna Callahan (Clarence) 90-174, Alyssa Ballaro (Clarence) 91-180, Victoria Leach (Clarence) 92-188, Allie Petschke (Alden) 98-206 and Morgan Zaccarine (Lancaster) 106-211.
Carmel of Section I won the schools team title with 355-346-681 and led Section I to the intersectional championship with 548-579-1,187.
Shoemaker, who has been playing golf since she was three, is coached by her father, Bobby. Her uncle owns a nine-hole course in West Edmeston in Central New York. She will not graduate from high school until 2023, but already has plenty of accomplishment and experience. She was a finalist in the Drive, Chip and Putt finals at Augusta National in April and played in the USGA Women’s Amateur 4-Ball Tournament in Tarzana, Calif., in April.