Jim Underwood’s goal this season is to be “in the mix.”
Last year Underwood’s Mattituck Tuckers boys golf team had a magical season, going 12-0 and winning the Suffolk County League VII championship. While graduation took some key golfers from the Tuckers, Coach Underwood is optimistic that with three returning all-league golfers in seniors Connor Davis and Marie Santacroce, along with junior Morgan Gildersleeve, his team can still be in the hunt for the league crown.
“Marie simply loves golf,” Underwood said. “She won the Island’s End championship this summer while Morgan won the North Fork Country Club title. They are both coming off a summer in which they played a lot of golf.”
Underwood said Santacroce is good around the greens and chips well, while Morgan is good with the irons and is a solid putter.
He said the North Fork Country Club is “a good feeder for our program.”
Freshman Richie Corazzini, eighth-grader Will Gildersleeve and senior Brad Sheryll will also contribute this season. In addition, junior Luke Bugdin and a pair of freshmen in Brad Tyler and Erik Olsen could also help.
“How well our [numbers] five and six players do will determine how good we are going to be,” Underwood said. “We’re young, and golf is a tough game, but we have kids that play a lot of golf. We’re always hoping to win the league. We’ve come back to the pack a little, but we will be in the mix.”
Mattituck will open the season on Tuesday against the Bishop McGann-Mercy Monarchs at the North Fork Country Club’s par-35, nine-hole course.
“The key for us will be cohesiveness,” Underwood said.”The kids play well together and pull for each other. Our success will depend largely on how well our younger kids play.”
The Greenport/Southold Clippers, coming off a 4-8 season in League VII, were hit hard by graduation, as they lost four seniors. Coach Dave Fujita’s team will be led by senior John Sorenson and juniors Will Fujita, Luke Hokanson, Winston Wilcenski and Kyle Clausen. Sorenson made all-county in 2009.
“John has a good all-around game,” Dave Fujita said. “He’s been shooting some nice scores.”
A pair of newcomers, sophomore David O’Day and freshman Robert Anderson, have shown promising potential.
“Golf is Robert’s principal sport and it shows,” said Dave Fujita.
Fujita said he has six players who can shoot in the 40s on the par-35, nine-hole Island’s End Golf and Country Club course. “Two or three of them can go even lower,” he said. “The real test for us is if our five and six players can score points.”
The Clippers will tee off the season on Tuesday at Hampton Bays.
“We don’t have a lot of players that play all year-round, so consistency will be a key for us,” Dave Fujita said. “I want our big guys to be aggressive, but I want our three through six golfers to play solid, consistent golf.”