Mahopac Golf Back On the Rise

Jackson Schaier follows through on an iron shot. Credits: Deena Bell

MAHOPAC, N.Y.— Mahopac’s golf program is on the verge of becoming the talent machine it was a few years back.

It finished with a respectable 7-7 record after losing to visiting John Jay-East Fishkill, 210-211, at Putnam National on Thursday, May 18.

Two-year senior captain Zach Gamarra went out strong, shooting a score of 40 as did rising eighth-grader Makena Kraus. Junior golfer Jackson Schaier made a score of 41.

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“We started the year with a few wins and that definitely gave us confidence that we can do it,” Gamarra said. “We picked up a few better players this year.”

The surging Indians have steadily improved the past few seasons and have notched some key victories in 2017.

Gamarra, Schaier, and Kraus were named to the all-league squad while junior Justin Sarli as well as seniors Anthony Cafaro and Alex Liberatore played very well this season.

Other top golfers included junior John Dignam, junior Joe Muscente and senior Rob Hoyt. Seniors Eric Lore and Jack Breiman were household names too.

“We’re coming back,” Mahopac coach Ray Fortini said. “The kids are definitely buying into the program and it’s a vastly improved record from last year.”

The Indians’ group of emerging sophomores included Eamon O’Gara, Katherine Kennedy, Anthony Varbaro and Jimmy Geyer.

Mahopac knocked off visiting Arlington on May 15 by a score of 241-254 in a huge rivalry win. Sarli guided the Indians with a 45 while Kraus scored 46 and Schaier finished at 47.

“I became more motivated to become a better golfer as I grew older,” Sarli said. “It’s an honor to be a part of the team and this year we are shining. It’s a lot more fun and competitive than other years.”

Schaier impressed in a 207-224 loss to Rye Neck on May 17, scoring 34 while Gamarra shot a 41.

“My short-game has probably improved the most this season,” Schaier said.

Mahopac crushed another league opponent in Roy C. Ketcham, 207-270, on May 10. Kraus, who is known as ‘The Prodigy,’ impressed with a score of 38 while Cafaro swung to a score of 40. Gamarra hit for a mark of 41 and Sarli scored 43.

“It’s much more competitive and different than I have ever done before (playing at the varsity level),” Kraus said. “You’re always going to have a fair match at this level.”

The Indians beat the Admirals again on May 9, 218-227, when Sarli shined to score 39 to Kraus’ 41. Gamarra shot to a score of 43.

“They all have improved and are solid golfers,” Fortini said. “[Alex, Anthony and Zach] can play on anybody’s team and do well. They have come from nowhere to really good golfers.”

Another reason why the Indians have been rising is that several of them participated in an indoor winter league at the Back Nine in Peekskill, which is taught by professional golfer and Mahopac resident, Billy Ashford.

“We started the season with kids already in form,” Fortini said. “Our season is so short that if you don’t do that (winter league) you will just start finding your game in May.”

Mahopac also bested Brewster by a tight score of 229-234 on May 8. Schaier led the way with a score of 42 as Cafaro scored 45.

“Fortini is a great coach and it’s been a fun year,” Gamarra said. “I’m definitely going to miss it.”

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