If ever there were two high school boys golf teams that seem to make each other better, they would be Eastport/South Manor and Mattituck.
Both teams finished this season as the co-champions of Suffolk County League VII. Two years earlier they had also shared the title (last year Eastport/South Manor won the crown by one stroke over the Tuckers).
The difference between the teams is razor thing. So, it came as no surprise Monday when the Tuckers and the Sharks fell within a couple of strokes of each other in the League VII Qualifying Tournament at Cherry Creek Golf Links in Riverhead. The Tuckers defended their tournament title with a tournament record score of 397 on the par-73, 18-hole course. Eastport/South Manor finished close behind in the runner-up spot with a 399.
“Both teams had great days,” Tuckers coach Paul Ellwood said. “I couldn’t believe the scores coming in.”
Three Tuckers — Alex Burns, Jon Dwyer and Andrew Stakey — shot 79s to tie for fourth place. Ryan McCaffrey and Matt Mauceri both tied for seventh with scores of 80. Brendan Kent shot an 85, leaving him 14th. The whole team qualified for the state qualifier next spring.
“I’m just happy that the kids played as well as they did,” Ellwood said. “If Eastport had shot a 396, I still would have been thrilled because 397 is a marvelous score.”
Then again, the Tuckers are no strangers to marvelous scores. Ellwood called 200 the magic number to break in a high school team match. The Tuckers did that eight times this year. Their team average of 197 is the lowest team average for Mattituck in at least 15 years, according to Ellwood. “That’s a tremendous team average to have,” he said.
The Tuckers recorded a season-low 188 at their home course, North Fork Country Club in Cutchogue, in a match against Bishop McGann-Mercy.
For the season, Stakey (38.03), Dwyer (38.34) and Burns (38.49) led the team with their nine-hole averages. Burns and Mauceri both had 14-0 match records.
The Tuckers (13-1, 11-1 League VII) and Eastport/South Manor (11-1, 11-1) split their regular-season matches against each other. The first time the teams played, in Cutchogue, the Tuckers lost by one stroke despite winning four of the six individual matches for the third straight time against the Sharks. When the teams met in the rematch at Hampton Hills Golf and Country Club in Westhampton Beach, the Tuckers won by seven strokes.
“They really played tremendous this year,” said Ellwood, who called it the best golf team he has coached. He added: “They all got better and were playing their best golf at the end of the year. That’s what you want. You can’t get better than that.”
Photo Caption: The Mattituck boys golf team set a tournament record to add the League VII Qualifying Tournament title to their regular-season league championship. (Credit: courtesy photo)