Jim Underwood, the coach of the Mattituck Tuckers boys golf team, was pleased with his team’s season-opening 9-0 win over the Bishop McGann-Mercy Monarchs on Sept. 14 at the North Fork Country Club. But Underwood knew his young team was still capable of doing even better.
So, before the Tuckers’ match against the Greenport/Southold Clippers Monday afternoon at North Fork Country Club, Underwood asked his golfers to raise the level of the bar of their own expectations, and they have responded nicely.
Mattituck topped the Clippers, 6-3.
The Tuckers (2-0 overall and in Suffolk County League VII) were led by Marie Santacroce and Connor Davis. They both shot 37s on the par-35, nine-hole course. Mattituck’s Rich Corazzini won his match, firing a 43. Will Fujita had a 39 and Kyle Clausen shot a 42 to pace the Clippers (1-2, 1-2).
“I talked to the kids about setting their goals higher,” Underwood said. “I want them to look to make more birdies.”
Underwood raved about Santacroce’s play. “Marie has made a big leap this season,” he said. “She wants to play in the number one spot. She is playing with a lot of confidence. She wants to be the top player.”
Underwood said the fact that two girls, Santacroce and Morgan Gildersleeve, are two of the Tuckers’ top three golfers “is an exceptional and special thing.”
In Mattituck’s opening win over the Monarchs, Davis and Santacroce both shot 39s. Gildersleeve shot a 40, while Luke Bugdin had a 41, Corazzini a 42, and Will Gildersleeve a 43.
Nick Engasser had a 44 for the Monarchs (2-1, 1-1).
Mattituck fired a team score of 201.
“Our team target is 200, so we had a very solid day,” Underwood said. “It was our first match and we were right there. The kids played their game.”
Mattituck was leading the Eastport/South Manor Sharks last Thursday at Hampton Hills Golf and Country Club when lightning postponed the match. The Tuckers’ fifth and sixth players had not finished their match when play was stopped. The entire match will be replayed on Monday.
“Some of these kids can shoot par,” Underwood said. “They are doing well, but we want to minimize our mistakes and tighten up our game.”
Consistency throughout the lineup will be a key for the Tuckers.
“We have to learn to play better on the road,” Underwood said. “We have to learn how to hit the ball to places we can see.”