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Abrahamsen Headed to States

May 24, 2011

Abrahamsen during a match this past fall

Tyler Abrahamsen, though only a sophomore, has already cemented his legacy as one of the best golfers in Stony Brook history.  His talent on the course has already won him several awards including the Clyde L. Mellinger Award in 2009, given to the best 8th grade athlete, and the Golf Award for Excellence in Contribution in 2009 and Excellence in Performance in 2010.  Along with being named All-League this past fall, one would think these accolades would be enough for a burgeoning 15-year-old golfer.  However, if you know Tyler you know he is a young man with an incredible work ethic and a true love for his sport.  He is not one to settle; he is the type of athlete who, no matter what plateau he reaches, will have higher aspirations for himself.  Going to the New York State tournament has been his dream ever since joining the team 4 years ago as a 7th grader and today, in the Suffolk County Tournament, that dream was finally realized.

Abrahamsen shot a combined 2 round score of 155 to finish in 7th place in the entire county and become the 1st Stony Brook golfer to earn a trip upstate since Mike Schwenk ’04 accomplished the feat in 2003 and 2004.  However, Schwenk is more than just an historical footnote in this story.  Schwenk has been Abrahamsen’s swing coach for the past 2 years and has taken him to the Indian Island Golf Course, the site of the County Tournament, numerous times so that Abrahamsen could become familiar with the course.  The tears in Schwenk’s eyes after Abrahamsen’s final round were a testament to his pride and satisfaction with his young protégé.

The most impressive part of Abrahamsen’s 2-day performance was the resilience he showed throughout his second round.  Yesterday he shot a 75 to move into a tie for 3rd place with 18 holes to go.  This morning he began his 2nd round with a par, bogeyed the 2nd hole and parred the 3rd.  The 4th hole, a birdie hole, was an ideal opportunity for Abrahamsen to get back to even par for his round, but after finding the rough and punching the ball into the water for a 1-stroke penalty, he took a double-bogey to move to +3 on the day.  A hole like that so early in a round would derail the mental fortitude of many golfers, but Tyler utilized his deep reservoir of confidence, brimming with innumerable hours spent on ranges and putting greens, to stave off any doubt.

The 5th hole loomed: a long par 3 with a green flanked by water on 3 sides that a golfer must attack against the wind.  It is the epitome of intimidation.  Abrahamsen strode up to the tee, reared back and knocked the ball within 5 feet, then sank the birdie putt to get back to +2.  “That was really big,” said coach Mike Hickey, recalling the shot.  It proved to be a watershed moment in Abrahamsen’s round as he resisted the urge to mentally implode and persevered.  This was on full display on his back 9 as he settled in to record a 38, which buoyed his front 9 score of 42.  Only the top 8 golfers in Suffolk County move onto the State Championship and Abrahamsen’s toughness down the stretch earned him his coveted 7th place finish.

The State Championship will be held at Cornell University on the first weekend in June.

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