East Hampton senior Ian Lynch punctuated his high school golf career with his best ever showing at the New York State Tournament on Sunday and Monday, finishing third among Section XI (Suffolk County) golfers and 15th overall in the state at the Cornell University Golf Club.
On the par 71 course, Lynch shot a 76 on Sunday and an 82 on Monday, and earned All-State honors by finishing in the top 20. It was his best finish in what was his third year competing in the tournament.
By making it to states three times, the six-year varsity player solidified his status as the best golfer in Bonac program history. Of the 99 players who competed in the state tournament this year, Lynch was one of just 12 who were there for the third time.
Lynch was also awarded the Section XI Sportsmanship Award.
Lynch, who will continue his golf career at Division I Colgate University in the fall, had to contend with some difficult weather conditions over the course of the two-day tournament. Rain and wind were a factor on Sunday, and the golfers were even called off the course for about an hour because of lightning.
Lynch shot a 35 on the front nine on Sunday and a 41 on the back nine, when the weather got really bad on the last three holes, according to head coach Claude Beudert.
The rain went away on Monday, but the temperature dropped and the wind was up, which dried out the greens and made play challenging in a different way, hardening up the course and leading to higher scores.
Beudert said it was a pleasure coaching Lynch for six years, noting that he was extremely proud of what Lynch has accomplished.
“There’s not going to ever be another Ian Lynch in our golf program,” he said.
Beudert said that while he didn’t necessarily expect Lynch to be a three-time state qualifier, he knew he was going to be a special player when he joined the varsity team as a seventh-grader.
“I knew he loved the game and played all the time,” he said. “So, I knew it was a possibility. I never envisioned the amount of work he’d put into his game. He’s really a student of the game.”
Lynch, who lives in Springs, has honed his game on the area’s public courses, primarily at Montauk Downs. He said his father, Brian, and Montauk Downs assistant pro Paul Dickinson have been responsible for teaching him the game, as well as Jason Jeffries at Maidstone, where the East Hampton golf team has had the opportunity to practice on occasion.
“My dad started me at a very young age,” Lynch said. “There are photos of me hitting golf balls when I was 3 years old at Montauk Downs.”
Beudert said Lynch’s dedication to the game has been impressive, particularly considering the fact that his family doesn’t belong to a private club.
“It definitely was not given to him with a silver spoon,” Beudert said. “He used a plastic fork.”
Lynch explained that at a certain point, golf simply became his singular passion.
“I just really got into golf and decided that’s what I wanted to focus on,” he said. “In a way, I motivated myself, and that’s the best place to find motivation.”
Lynch, who said he’s planning on working in the pro shop at Montauk Downs this summer, said he was proud of his career because of the progress he made each year he was on the team. He narrowly missed out on a spot at states as a freshman, made it there as a sophomore, and played better as a junior at states but didn’t finish high enough to earn All-State honors. He finally achieved that goal as a senior.
“Every year, I got a little better,” he said. “I expect that to continue going into Colgate.”