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Cullen earns bid to state championships

Golf is not a game of how, rather of how many. The way a ball is holed or how a final score is determined is irrelevant.

Former Saint Francis High School standout and current Canisius College golfer Cory Cullen (Buffalo, New York) rebounded from a triple bogey on the 11th hole of the New York State Amateur Qualifier with four birdies over his final seven holes to medal at the Buffalo regional.

In medaling, he advanced to the state championship being held July 22-24 at Bellevue Country Club in Syracuse.

The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year recorded birdies on the 12th and 13th holes to get back into red figures and finished with two more birdies on 16 and 17 to grab medalist honors by one stroke over Jake Yartz (Lakewood, NY) at River Oaks Country Club on July 25.

“I wasn’t really thinking too much about making birdies (after the triple),” Cullen said. “I was more just thinking about putting good strokes on the ball. I was giving myself opportunities all day, it was just depending on if they were falling or not. I was striking the ball well. Just putting good strokes on the ball.”

With the cut line of 73 (+1) being the lowest it’s been in many years, the margin of error for all players was slim. A lack of wind and some easily accessible pin locations made the course play a little easier and contributed to a low cut score.

The Buffalo region, which had 49 participants, awarded 12 spots plus ties and will send 15 players total in two weeks to Syracuse.

“I was thinking the cut was going to be much higher. I think everyone did,” Cullen said. “I was hoping to come in after the triple with a nice 74 or 73 but fortunately I made another four birdies after that.”

Cullen played in all matches but one during his freshman season at Canisius, and finished the season placing 26th at the MAAC Championships. Cullen has also won the Club Championship at Harvest Hill Golf Course in Orchard Park the past two years, and four of the last five.

During his senior season as a Red Raider, Cullen finished second at the All-Catholic Championship after firing a 1-under 71 at Harvest Hill, one behind eventual champion James Grachos of Nichols. Cullen also won the Buffalo District Junior Match Play Championship last year, and made it to the round of 16 in the International Junior Masters, played at East Aurora Country Club.

Joining Cullen on the list of players to qualify out of Buffalo is Andrew Edbauer, of Hamburg. Edbauer, who attended Canisius High School along with Canisius College, got in right on the number after birding two of his final three holes.

This will be Edbauer’s first trip to the State Amateur Championship after his third attempt at the qualifier.

“I thought going into this, it was the most prepared I’ve ever been for the qualifier,” Edbauer said. “My game felt good and everything was falling into place.  I was able to birdie the first to get the ball rolling and had a solid round.”

Like Cullen, Edbauer was able to post a 2-under 34 on the front side but ran into some trouble on the back, including four bogeys over his first six holes, and three in a row on holes 13, 14, and 15.

“Probably the biggest moment for me was on the 16th,” Edbauer noted. “I was coming off three straight bogeys and really needed a boost and stuck one in to about three feet on a tucked pin for a birdie, and then ended up making a crucial birdie on 17 that gave me some room going into the last.”

Both players say ball placement and consistency will be the key at Bellevue. They are hoping to have a strong showing and make the cut to the final two rounds.

“Now it’s just focusing on the State Championship and trying to put on a good showing and prove myself around here,” Edbauer said.

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