NAPLES — Tuesday was a beautiful October day for a golf match in the Finger Lakes.

Geneva High junior John Mittiga had plenty to smile about after he captured his third straight Finger Lakes High School Athletic Association golf championship at Reservoir Creek Golf Course. Mittiga carded a 3-over-par 74 beating teammate and classmate Joey Maher by one stroke.

“I played pretty well,” Mittiga said. “I didn’t putt as well as I usually do. I missed in all the right spots and it came together at the end.”

Mittiga was well on his way to capturing the championship after the first 9 holes, where he finished with a score of 35. He birdied on four separate occasions, but also found some challenges within the course.

“There was some tight holes on hole 9 and 10,” he added. “I put the ball in play and was able to score.”

Despite beating his teammate by one stroke, Mittiga is grateful for the competitive drive both of them have — forcing to better themselves every time they’re on the course.

“We’re competitive, but it’s good for both of us,” Mittiga said. “We push each other to be better. It’s a good competitive relationship.”

Maher was also pleased with his performance and much like Mittiga, found some challenges on the course.

“I played pretty good,” Maher said. “The greens were tough, my putts weren’t exactly going how I thought they were. Other than that I played pretty good.

“Some of the holes were tight. Finding the fairway and making sure you’re not in trouble was very important.”

Both golfers qualified for sectionals amongst others who participated in the tournament. Panthers coach Bill McDermott was pleased with not only Mittiga and Maher’s performance, but his entire team’s performance.

“They obviously held it together today,” McDermott said. “They did what they had to do. They know that it doesn’t really matter what you shoot, you just got to be the top 10 and you advance to sectionals. They held it together and they played well.

“Both John and Joey have had great accomplishments in the past three years and it’s amazing. John has won the league tournament three years in a row now, and Joey was the player of the year for the past two years. What they have done is incredible.”

McDermott also has very high expectations for Mittiga and Maher as they approach sectionals.

“I think the experience that they had at sectionals the last couple of years will really benefit them,” he added. “John did very well last year obviously. Also with Joey, just being able to play the last couple of years — he got a feel for it and saw what it was like. I think they’ll do very well.”

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