BY BOB WEINER
SCHENECTADY — Aaron Simone was in a zone, and nobody could force him out of it.
Deliberate, focused and effective, Simone posted an even-par 72 in the final round to win the 65th annual Gazette County Amateur Golf Championship by five shots Sunday afternoon at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course.
Simone, a 20-year-old former Gazette Newspaper in Education Capital District Junior champion, finished the three-day scratch event with a 3-under-par 213 total. Alex Olbrych, a 25-year-old member of The Edison Club who led after the first round and shared the lead after the second, shot a 77 Sunday and finished with a 218.
Simone appeared oblivious to his surroundings as he meticulously walked his way through the final round. The Niskayuna High School graduate and current sophomore at Rider University recorded two birdies to offset a pair of bogeys. He was never out of control from tee to green. Both of his bogeys were short lip-outs.
“It was kind of a grind with my swing today, but I kept on playing to my strength, which is my wedge play and my short game,” Simone said.
“I had a good feeling today. I knew if I played my game, I would force somebody to shoot a 65 or a 67 to beat me. I knew what Alex was doing, and even though I didn’t have any idea how the rest of the players were playing, I figured they would have to have a great round to catch me.”