Boys Golf: Tourney champion Tuckers want league crown, too

Eastport/South Manor vs. Mattituck.

Mattituck vs. Eastport/South Manor.

It has evolved into one of the best rivalries in high school boys golf. The competition is stiff, and interesting things seem to happen when these two teams meet on the links.

When the teams played last week in what was supposed to be the final match of the season with the League VII championship at stake, lightning struck. Literally.

Because of lightning, the match was suspended, with players having completed five or seven of the nine scheduled holes, depending on the group they were in. The match is to be concluded Wednesday at Hampton Hills Golf Club in Westhampton.

If Mattituck (10-1, 10-1) wins, it will share the league title with Eastport/South Manor (11-0, 11-0) for the second year in a row.

That’s big stuff. Even bigger, apparently, than Mattituck winning the League VII Tournament on Monday for the second year in a row. Five Tuckers finished among the top 10 in the 18-hole tournament at Cherry Creek Golf Links’ par-73 course in Riverhead. Mattituck finished with a team score of 424. Eastport/South Manor was second at 440.

Jon Dwyer and Alex Burns tied for second with scores of 82. Andrew Stakey and Ryan McCaffery tied for fifth with 85s and Matt Mauceri shot a 90, giving him 10th. Another Mattituck golfer, Brendan Kent, shot a 95.

Four of those players — Burns, McCaffery, Mauceri and Kent — are sophomores. That the Tuckers have done as well as they have this season, despite their youth, has come as a surprise to coach Paul Ellwood.

“I didn’t know how they were going to handle the pressure of the spotlight in varsity matches,” he said. “The young guys stepped right in and performed tremendously.”

Dwyer and Stakey have played at the top of the lineup at various times this season. Dwyer has a nine-hole average of 41.30 and shot a season-best 35. Stakey’s average is 41.52, aided by a pair of 37s.

Nine players have played in the six-player lineup at times during the season.

As gratifying as the league tournament triumph is, the Tuckers seem more concerned with grabbing a share of first place.

“Tomorrow will give us a banner if we win,” Ellwood explained during an interview on Tuesday night.

Earlier in the season, the Sharks defeated Mattituck, 5-4, but the Tuckers took four of the six individual matches.

“It’s good competition,” Ellwood said. “It’s fun. The match is always tight with Eastport. Something crazy always happens when we go over there. We’ll see what happens.”

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