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High school golf: Falcons’ Arrigo has extra motivation this time

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TURIN — Golfers of all ages and abilities work hard to shave a single stroke off their final score. South Lewis junior golfer Nick Arrigo has a good reason to do that.

Arrigo and other Frontier League golfers will begin their push to qualify for the New York State tournament with the Section 3 Northern District spring qualifier today at McConnellsville Golf Club in Blossvale.

Arrigo missed out on qualifying for last year’s state tournament by a shot. Though initially downtrodden, Arrigo said he was glad to get close.

“I was a little disappointed,” said Arrigo, who has been on the varsity squad since seventh grade. “But I can’t feel bad to make it as far as I did.”

After a shaky first day, Arrigo rallied to get himself to within a shot of qualifying in adverse weather conditions at Seven Oaks Golf Course at Colgate University in Hamilton.

It came down to the last group before he missed the cut.

South Lewis head coach Ed Collins said that Arrigo did a lot to get himself in a position to contend.

“He was probably was about seven or eight shots from qualifying after the first day, but he scored the third-best on an unbelievably horrible day,” said Collins, who is in his 18th year coaching the Falcons.

This year’s state qualifying tournament will be Thursday and Saturday at Seven Oaks.

Arrigo’s hard work has seemingly paid off as he tied a 23-year-old school record at Turin Highlands Golf Course with a 2-under-par 35 in nine holes on May 9 against Thousand Islands. He said that he’s been trying to play smarter and has better course management.

“I’ve learned that hitting into the woods and water is not smart,” said Arrigo, who helped South Lewis claim the Frontier League “C” Division title.

Collins remarked that Arrigo has made significant advancements in his game and only needs to make minor adjustments when not in trouble. He said that Arrigo is constantly using different methods to improve himself.

“He’s a student of the game,” Collins said. “He’s always watching video, he’s always practicing.”

Arrigo and the rest of the Falcons have done a lot of extra time practicing as they’ve used indoor simulators and traveled to other courses. Collins said putting in extra work is nothing new for Arrigo.

“Ever since he’s been in sixth grade, he’s probably played 50 holes a day,” Collins said.

Arrigo and the rest of South Lewis team played the McConnellsville course on Sunday, and he thinks it will be great preparation for today’s qualifier.

“It should help me out quite a bit,” Arrigo said. “Testing out the greens and seeing how fast they’ll be.”

Golfing success runs in the Arrigo family as his brother, Alex, played at Division I schools Western Carolina and Siena.

Arrigo said the success of his older brother got him into golf.

“I used to play baseball,” Arrigo said. “I just switched for some reason, and I’ve enjoyed it ever since.”

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