09/03/14 4:00pm
09/03/2014 4:00 PM
Chris Mauceri had a 44.40 nine-hole average last year for Mattituck, which won its fourth league title in five years. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Chris Mauceri had a 44.40 nine-hole average last year for Mattituck, which won its fourth league title in five years. (Credit: Garret Meade)

PREVIEW

Coming off a magical season last year, the Mattituck High School boys golf team has taken quite a hit. The Tuckers graduated three all-league players, the entire top half of their lineup, and they don’t have a single senior in their numbers as they swing into the 2014 season.

“We are in the rebuilding stage, if you will, not a lot of proven areas,” said Paul Ellwood, who takes a 32-3-1 record into his fourth year as the team’s coach. “We’re a little raw talent-wise, but there is something to work with there.” (more…)

12/24/13 7:00am
12/24/2013 7:00 AM
GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Mattituck senior Richie Corazzini.

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Mattituck senior Richie Corazzini.

Late fall can be a tricky time to hit the golf course. It just also happens to be the time for the high school boys golf league championship.

When the Mattituck Tuckers arrived at Cherry Creek Golf Links in Riverhead, they faced heavy wind gusts. It hardly slowed them down, as they won the team tournament with a score of 440, edging out six other teams for the league title.

Senior Richie Corazzini finished with the top score in the tournament, shooting an 82 over 18 holes over the par-72 course. Senior Brad Tyler was fifth with an 87.

Five golfers finished in the top 15 and qualified for the county tournament next spring.

Editor’s note: We’re counting down the top 10 sports stories of 2013. Check back every day until Jan. 1 to follow along.

10/30/13 4:00pm
10/30/2013 4:00 PM

COURTESY PHOTO | The members of Mattituck’s league and league tournament champion boys golf team, from left: Parker Tuthill, Jon Dwyer, Andrew Stakey, Matt Mauceri, Erik Olsen, Brad Tyler, Chris Mauceri, Liam Shuford and Richie Corazznini.

For high school golfers playing in New York in the fall, it’s not always going to be calm, sunny and warm outside. Playing in difficult weather conditions is part of the game.

So, when coach Paul Ellwood and the players on his Mattituck team got off the bus Friday after arriving at Cherry Creek Golf Links in Riverhead for the League VII Tournament, they knew it wasn’t going to be an easy day, with the wind gusting the way it was. Ellwood told his golfers, “Whatever your goal was today, add six to eight strokes to it and you’ll be fine.”

The Tuckers were more than fine. They ended up winning the tournament with a team score of 440. Following them were Eastport/South Manor (453), Bishop McGann-Mercy (473), Greenport/Southold (480), Riverhead (481), Hampton Bays (488) and Shelter Island (498).

Mattituck senior Richie Corazzini finished with the top score in the tournament. He shot an 82 over 18 holes on the par-72 course while teammate and fellow senior Brad Tyler was fifth with an 87. Three other Tuckers — Matt Mauceri (89), Jon Dwyer (90) and Erik Olsen (92) — were also in the top 15 and qualified for the county tournament next spring. Eastport/South Manor and Mattituck golfers filled nine of the first 21 places.

“I felt like the kids peaked at the right time,” Ellwood said. “We felt pretty confident. The kids really stepped up.”

The triumph brings the Tuckers a double. They had finished the league season tied for first place with Eastport/South Manor. Both teams ended up with 10-1-1 records, the tie coming when they played each other to a 4 1/2-4 1/2 draw at Hampton Hills Golf and Country Club in Westhampton Beach. A winner couldn’t be determined through three tiebreakers, and the fourth tiebreaker required each team to send a player out to play one hole. But darkness made that impossible.

Ellwood said the rule book is unclear about what steps are to be taken in such a circumstance. After a period of uncertainty, it was finally determined that the tie would stand.

The remainder of the regular season played out as expected, and the two teams, which have held the league title between them for at least the past 10 years, according to Ellwood, were left to share first place. They were the only teams in the seven-team league with winning records.

The Tuckers had won three straight league titles before last year, when they lost to Eastport/South Manor on the final day of the season, leaving the Sharks with the crown.

“It’s a healthy rivalry, and I think it’s going to continue,” said Ellwood.

Mattituck lost its second match of the season, on Sept. 12 to Shelter Island, and hasn’t lost since.

The Tuckers weren’t in a sharing mood Friday. Each team was allowed to select six players to compete in the league tournament.

“Up to the last day the kids were nervous about who would be in,” said Ellwood, who enjoys the luxury of depth to go with talent.

Such is Mattituck’s depth that Ellwood did not select Parker Tuthill and Liam Sehuford, who he said could have qualified for the county tournament as well.

Last Thursday Ellwood announced his six players, and the Tuckers hit the course with confidence.

Eastport/South Manor won the inaugural league tournament last year, edging Mattituck by one stroke.

This season, Corazzini led the team with a 39.00 average. Mattituck’s other top scorers were Tyler (43.90), Olsen (44.00), Chris Mauceri (44.40), Matt Mauceri (46.33) and Dwyer (46.78).

“That good karma within the team is why we won,” Ellwood said after Friday’s victory. “I think the kids got closure today. … It all worked out for us in the end.”

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10/15/13 9:34pm
10/15/2013 9:34 PM

It was a simple question, but one that required an involved answer.

After someone asked him what the Mattituck boys golf team’s record is, coach Paul Ellwood replied, “Good question.”

Ellwood offered two possibilities: either 7-1-1, or 7-1 with a match still to be decided.

The source of the uncertainty can be traced to Mattituck’s Suffolk County League VII match against Eastport/South Manor last Wednesday at Hampton Hills Golf and Country Club in Westhampton Beach. When the match ended with the score tied, 4 1/2-4 1/2, a winner still couldn’t be determined through three tiebreakers. The fourth tiebreaker, Ellwood said, required each team to send a player out to play one hole. The problem was, by then it was too dark to continue play.

Ellwood said the rulebook is unclear about how the situation should be handled. Should the teams replay the match? Should each team designate a player to play one hole to decide it? Should the tie stand?

Ellwood said the Suffolk County Boys Golf Coaches Association president, Dennis Maloney, left it up to the two coaches to settle on either a one-hole playoff or leave the result as a tie.

Phone messages left for Maloney and Eastport/South Manor coach Todd Skala were not returned prior to the deadline.

Ellwood said both coaches would prefer to avoid a one-hole playoff. He said Mattituck’s athletic director, Gregg Wormuth, is looking into the matter.

“It is very interesting because no one has an answer because it never happened before,” said Ellwood.

The result of the match has tremendous implications on the league championship. Section XI’s listing of the League VII standings on Tuesday night showed Eastport/South Manor in first place with an 8-1 record and Mattituck second at 7-1.

The Tuckers had won three straight league titles before last year, when they lost to Eastport/South Manor on the final day of the season, leaving the Sharks with the crown.

Ellwood said he wouldn’t mind replaying the match, but didn’t think that would happen. “I have a feeling it’s going to end a tie,” he said.

If the result remains a tie and both teams win out their final matches, as expected, Eastport/South Manor and Mattituck would be co-champions.

Mattituck is the only visiting team to win at Eastport/South Manor’s Hampton Hills course in the last seven years, according to Ellwood. The Tuckers defeated the Sharks earlier this season at North Fork Country Club in Cutchogue. Mattituck’s only loss was to Shelter Island. The Tuckers’ remaining league matches will be against Riverhead (3-6), Bishop McGann-Mercy (4-6) and Hampton Bays (1-8).

A big plus for Mattituck has been the play of senior Richie Corazzini. Mattituck’s No. 1 player has an 8-1 record and a 38.37 average. He apparently likes playing against Greenport/Southold, twice shooting under par in matches against the Clippers. Corazzini fired a nine-hole score of 32 at Island’s End Golf and Country Club in Greenport and a 33 at North Fork Country Club. Those are both par-35 courses.

“I was amazed,” Corazzini said. “I never really shot under par before. The best thing is to not really think about it, you know. I just played.”

As impressive as those performances were, consider this: Corazzini shot a 40 against Riverhead — without hitting one fairway! He has a knack for getting out of trouble. He said, “I have a lot of shots in my bag to get me out of trouble.”

“If he’s hitting fairways, he’s unbelievable,” Ellwood said. “He’s been getting bigger and stronger. He hits the ball so far. He expects to do well. He’s been the clear number one. He’s just been separating himself from everybody with his scores.”

Corazzini hasn’t been the only one playing well. There are others, like Erik Olsen, Brad Tyler, Jon Dwyer, Matt Mauceri, Liam Sehuford, Parker Tuthill and Andrew Stakey. Ellwood said Chris Mauceri is coming back from a broken wrist.

Said Ellwood, “Everyone’s had success.”

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09/12/13 7:00pm
09/12/2013 7:00 PM

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Mattituck senior Richie Corazzini was one of three all-league golfers from last year who are returning this season.

PREVIEW

When Jim Underwood retired as the Mattituck boys varsity golf coach, he apologized to his successor, Paul Ellwood, for leaving him with such a young team.

“And then they won the league championship,” said Ellwood.

And then they did so again and yet again!

As it turned out, no apologies were necessary as the Tuckers won three successive league championships. They came agonizingly close to a fourth straight league crown last year, only to see it slip from their grasp with a loss to Eastport/South Manor on the final day of the season at Hampton Hills Golf and Country Club.

Mattituck finished the season with a 10-2 record, behind League VII champion Eastport/South Manor (11-1). Over the past five years, Mattituck’s record is a remarkable 56-4.

“The record is great, but the guys, they kind of have that chip on their shoulder after last season,” Ellwood said. “They’re not taking things for granted this year.”

Mattituck will be a force to be reckoned with once again. The Tuckers return their entire lineup, including all-league golfers Eric Olsen, Brad Tyler and Richie Corazzini. All three of those seniors had nine-hole averages between 39 and 40 and took turns playing the No. 1 position.

More varsity experience is provided by sophomore John Dwyer (42 average), junior Chris Mauceri (44) and freshman Matt Mauceri (46). Liam Sehuford, a senior, and Parker Tuthill, a sophomore, played mostly exhibition matches last season.

It’s a solid eight, to be sure.

“We’re good, we’re deep,” Ellwood said. “It’s just how are we going to play in those big matches? If we catch fire, I don’t think anybody is going to beat us.”

Ellwood said it will be critical for Mattituck two take two wins from its three away matches against Eastport/South Manor, Greenport/Southold and Shelter Island.

The competition in League VII is expected to be keen among those four teams, including a Greenport/Southold contingent that coach Dave Fujita said is the deepest he has had in years.

“It should be interesting,” Fujita said of the upcoming League VII season. “I haven’t seen it this competitive in a while. Anything can happen. If we play the way we need to play, we have a shot at anything, but playing it and saying it are two different things.”

A big plus in Greenport/Southold’s favor is the fact that the Clippers (8-4) lost only one player to graduation, Dave O’Day. The rest of the lineup returns, five seniors among them.

The co-captains, senior Rob Anderson and junior Tom Messana, both all-league selections last year, are competing for the No. 1 spot. They averaged in the low 40s.

“I’m counting on these guys to break 40 this year on a consistent basis,” Fujita said. “If they break 40, they’re giving themselves a chance to win their match.”

Also featured are senior Tim Stankewicz, junior Alex Poliwoda, senior Rob Mahony, and sophomores Brendan Walker and Liam Walker, who are not related. Brian Tuthill, a senior, played in the first match last year before a shoulder injury shut him down for the remainder of the season. Tuthill is about 95 percent recovered and has been cleared to play, said Fujita.

Bobby Van Mater, a freshman, and Ryan Harroun, a senior, are new to the team.

Fujita said Anderson and Messana can beat anyone, and his next four golfers should be fairly consistent, hopefully breaking 45.

“I’m lucky,” Fujita said. “I have great kids, they love the sport and hopefully they’ll take these memories with them wherever they go. Think about it, playing golf after school on these beautiful courses; it doesn’t get any better than that, right?”

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09/13/12 9:00pm
09/13/2012 9:00 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck junior Richie Corazzini posted the best win-loss record in Suffolk County League VII last year, going 9-3.

Another league championship was hardly in the plans.

Paul Ellwood said that when he was handed the reigns as the new coach of the Mattituck High School boys golf team last year by the former coach, Jim Underwood, Underwood apologized for leaving him with such a young team.

No apologies were necessary.

As it turned out, the Tuckers may have had a good degree of turnover (so much so that Newsday predicted a fourth-place finish for them in Suffolk County League VII), but they sure had plenty of talent. Enough so that they went 12-0 as undefeated league champions.

Speaking of his team, which had been 33-3 in the three years preceding last season, Ellwood said, “I don’t know how a 33-3 team can be Cinderella, but I guess we were.”

It was Mattituck’s fourth league title in a row and seventh in 10 years. Not that it came easily, because it didn’t.

“It wasn’t like we blew everybody out,” Ellwood said. “We had a lot of close matches. The 12 and 0 record might have been misleading, but the kids got it done. I think every team in the league had a legitimate chance to beat us.”

Mattituck takes a 45-3 record over the past four years into this season with a deep lineup led by two all-league players, juniors Richie Corazzini and Brad Tyler. At 9-3 in the No. 1 spot, Corazzini had the best record in League VII last year to go with a nine-hole average of 41.45. He is being pushed for the top place in the lineup by Tyler, who went 10-2 with a 43.72 average in the No. 2 spot last year.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Greenport/Southold captain David O’Day is the team’s only returning senior.

And there is more varsity experience back in the form of junior Erik Olsen (47.4 average, 6-4-1 record), sophomore Chris Mauceri (47.4, 8-1-1) and freshman Parker Tuthill, who played mostly exhibition matches last year, but had a low score of 40 in one match.

Meanwhile, six underclassmen are competing for the sixth and final place in the lineup: freshmen Jon Dwyer, Cal Seifert and Andrew Stakey, and eighth-graders Alex Burns, Matt Mauceri and D. J. Gatz.

“We don’t have superstars, but we are pretty strong across the board,” Ellwood said. “Our last two players on any given day could score as much as our first two players.”

Ellwood said Mattituck’s chances of winning the league championship are as good as any other team’s, but something has changed.

“We’re not going to catch any teams by surprise,” he said. “I think teams are going to have an underdog approach against us this year. Now we’re the hunted.”

Greenport/Southold (7-5) has one returning senior, David O’Day. O’Day, the team captain, is the steadiest golfer on a team of young, improving players, said coach Dave Fujita. Fujita likes O’Day’s length off the tee and his ability to put a bad hole behind him. “From a coach’s perspective, Dave is the type of player you would want to build your team around, a steady golfer and a great guy,” said Fujita.

Competing for the No. 2 spot are sophomore Tom Messana and junior Rob Anderson. Both players are capable of shooting in the 30s, said Fujita.

Brian Tuthill, Brendan Walker, Tim Stankewicz, Alex Poliwoda and Liam Walker are also fighting for spots in the six-player lineup.

“The strength of our team is our overall balance,” Fujita said. “What is yet to be seen is whether we have what it takes to beat the better teams. Specifically, we need to be able to get at least two guys shooting low scores and the rest of the team playing steady golf.”

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10/12/11 11:30am
10/12/2011 11:30 AM

A game as much mental as it is physical, golf requires patience and belief. Without confidence on the course, a golfer stands little chance.

When Kyle Clausen came into the season for Greenport/Southold, he was moving into the No. 1 spot for the first time as a senior. His expectation, Coach Dave Fujita said, was to shoot in the low 40s early in the season.

Fujita knew he could do even better.

“He started to believe that he could actually break 40,” Fujita said. “When he did — he broke 40 in the third match of the season with a 38 — from that point on he’s been low 40s, high 30s consistently.”

Clausen can drive the ball a great distance and has developed the consistency in his game to become the top golfer for the Clippers this season. The Clippers won their last match last Thursday, 5-4, against Hampton Bays to improve to 3-5 in League VII. Clausen led the team by shooting a 39.

Fujita said Clausen plays the game with a tremendous demeanor, never letting a bad shot throw off his game.

“That’s what you want as a golfer,” he said. “You can’t really dwell on what you did. You have to look forward and think about your next shot.”

Fujita said he tries to preach the importance of a positive attitude to all his golfers.

“Visualize what you want to do,” he said. “Have a purpose and think about what you want to do and decide and be convicted about that.”

Clausen has a spot in the county tournament in the spring locked up. A three-sport athlete, Clausen will also be playing baseball by the time that rolls around.

“It’s amazing that he’s able to come out and focus on his golf game so quickly,” Fujita said. “If he devoted 12 months a year [to golf], he’d be breaking par.”

Fujita said he’s confident his No. 2 golfer, junior David O’Day, will be headed to the tournament as well. O’Day has been a co-captain this season along with Clausen.

Fujita said O’Day has been consistent all season and entrenched himself as the team’s No. 2 player.

Robert Anderson has held down the third spot for the Clippers.

“All the guys are very anxious to improve and learn,” Fujita said. “As a coach it’s ideal. Our record could be a little bit better, but really they’ve played just about where I anticipated.”

The Clippers were set to return to action yesterday against Bishop McGann-Mercy. They won the first match against the Monarchs, 6 1/2-1 1/2, in September.

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09/27/11 12:05pm
09/27/2011 12:05 PM

The benefit of a home field advantage can vary by sport. There’s the bus trip, maybe a few rambunctious fans that can add to the home team’s advantage.

But perhaps no sport is the home field as important as in the sport that has nearly no spectators: golf.

Playing an unfamiliar course can be a treacherous experience for some golfers.

The Mattituck boys golf team, winners of three consecutive league titles, knows how important it is to defend its home course. So far, the Tuckers have done just that.

The Tuckers defeated Shelter Island 8-1 Monday afternoon at North Fork Country Club to improve to 5-0 in League VII. The Indians have gotten off to a strong start this season and came into Monday’s match at 4-1, making for a pivotal day for the Tuckers.

“This was a big match,” said Mattituck coach Paul Ellwood. “We were on our home course so we felt like we had to hold serve against them. It put us in good position for the first half, getting almost halfway through the league season without a loss.”

The Indians will get a chance on their home course at Deering Harbor when the teams meet again Oct. 17.

“There’s a huge advantage for most teams on their home course,” Ellwood said. “Our course is tight and out of bounds comes into play a lot. Teams sometimes struggle with that.”

The marquee matchup Monday was between Mattituck freshman Rich Corazzini and Shelter Island’s Jake Card. Corazzini earned the victory and point for Mattituck after shooting a 2-over-par 37. Card shot a 39.

Corazzini remained unbeaten on the season at 5-0.

The Tuckers finished with a total team score of 221 against the Indians.

Mattituck is now 38-3 since winning the first of three straight league titles.

While the Tuckers have been strong on their home course, winning all three matches so far, their biggest win of the season came on the road. Facing Eastport-South Manor, the Tuckers’ biggest threat for the league title, Mattituck won 6-3 when they played Sept. 15 at Hampton Hills.

“We don’t win there too often,” Ellwood said.

When the Tuckers face Eastport a second time, they’ll do so back at North Fork Country Club. Ellwood cautioned there are no guarantees playing a team a second time.

“Every match we’ve kind of do just enough to win,” he said. “It’s going to be a lot tougher the second time around.”

Four of the six matches for Mattituck in the second half of the season are on the road. The Tuckers conclude the first half of the season Oct. 3 at home against Riverhead.

Shelter Island gets right back at it today against Eastport at home. The Indians have posted wins over Mercy, Riverhead, Greenport and Hampton Bays.

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05/24/11 11:11pm
05/24/2011 11:11 PM

The buzz at the Suffolk County high school boys golf championships this week was how well a girl was doing.

The girl in question, Mattituck High School senior Marie Santacroce, undoubtedly surprised more than a few people with her play in the two-day tournament at Indian Island Country Club in Riverhead. Santacroce was not only among the 30 players who made the cut on Monday, but she finished on Tuesday in a tie for eighth place, falling two strokes shy of qualifying for the state tournament.

Now that’s not bad.

“I loved it. It was great competition,” Santacroce said. “I learned that I can beat anyone having a good short game.”

Because Mattituck doesn’t have a girls golf team, Santacroce found herself playing alongside and competing against boys when she joined the varsity squad three years ago. That was fine with her. She welcomed the competition, the longer distances she had to play, and said it helped her game, so much so that she will play for Flagler College (Fla.) next season.

“I like playing with the boys,” Santacroce said. “They play differently than the girls. They play more aggressively than the girls do.”

Competing in the county tournament for the third straight year, Santacroce made the cut for the first time by shooting an 81 on the par-72 course on Monday. She then did even better on Tuesday, with a 78 and a two-day total of 159, making her the lowest-scoring girl in the tournament.

“Marie had a fabulous day,” Mattituck coach Jim Underwood said. “This was easily the best she’s played for Mattituck, hands down.”

While boys may have had longer drives than Santacroce, she caught up with some of them with her accurate short game.

“I guess they underestimate me because I’m so much shorter than them off the tee, but I’m very consistent,” Santacroce said. “I’m straight up the middle. The short game saved me. When I’m confident on my short game, I can score very well.”

Santacroce said she was “dragging a little bit” on the back nine Tuesday when it got hot and muggy, but her father, John, gave her some chocolate and it re-energized her.

Zach Grossman of East Hampton (72 and 72) and Kyle Burke of Sayville (76 and 68) both posted two-day totals of 144. Grossman won it on the first playoff hole.

Two Shoreham-Wading River players, Sean Sanders and John Malandras, made the cut. Sanders recorded scores of 80 and 82 to finish in a tie for 11th place. Malandras had an 80 and a 93, finishing 17th.

A number of other local golfers competed on Monday, but failed to make the cut: Robbie Bray of Shoreham-Wading River (83), John Sorenson of Greenport/Southold (84), Richie Corazzini of Mattituck (85), Lee Balsano of Shoreham-Wading River (87), Tyler Crohan of Greenport/Southold (87), Kyle Clausen of Greenport/Southold (87), Will Fujita of Greenport/Southold (92), Brad Tyler of Mattituck (93), Chris Divito of Shoreham-Wading River (93), Luke Hokanson of Greenport/Southold (93), Dakota Trick of Bishop McGann-Mercy (96), David O’Day of Greenport/Southold (98), Winston Wilcenski of Greenport/Southold (113) and Catherine Brabazon of Bishop McGann-Mercy (125).

Mattituck golf is only part of Santacroce’s résumé. She is the Island’s End Golf and Country Club’s women’s champion and has played in national tournaments throughout the country. She recently won a junior tournament in New Jersey and will soon compete in a pro-am tournament.

Underwood said that if Santacroce played high school girls golf, she would be among the top five players in the county.

“It’s not like this was handed to her,” he said. “She’s worked so hard for it.”

For Santacroce, who aside from Connor Davis is the team’s only senior, to close out her high school career on such a positive note is encouraging. She said, “I’m happy with the way that I played and I’m happy with myself.”

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