Mattituck High School’s golfers don’t show much emotion on the course. Their body language is tough to read, so it wasn’t easy for coach Paul Ellwood to gauge how well his players were doing during the Suffolk County League VII Tournament last Thursday.
“You can’t read my guys whether they’re playing poorly or great,” he said.
Coaches only get to see a sliver of the shots players take. “Seventy-five shots is a great round, and if you’re only seeing six of them, you’re not getting a good sample of what’s going on,” said Ellwood.
Ellwood didn’t like what he saw at Rock Hill Golf & Country Club in Manorville. He saw his players in some difficult situations.
Meanwhile, he saw Eastport-South Manor players looking confident and sticking some great shots.
So imagine Ellwood’s pleasant surprise when the Tuckers’ results came in. “I was like, Holy cow!’ ” he said. “They were actually having tremendous days.”
Mattituck won its third consecutive league tournament title, breaking its own record with 389 strokes, 27 better than second-place Eastport-South Manor.
Eighteen holes weren’t enough to decide the individual title, which was settled by a three-way sudden-death playoff hole. Mattituck seniors Ryan McCaffrey and Ryan Shuford and Shelter Island sophomore Nick Young all shot 75s through 18 holes on the par-71 course. McCaffrey prevailed in the added hole with a 5 on the par-4 hole.
“He just lipped out his par putt and then tapped in for five,” Ellwood said. “It was a lot of pressure.”
Shuford and Young both made the final hole in six shots.
Other Tuckers had a good day as well. Senior Alex Burns (78) was fourth, freshman Chris Talbot (79) seventh, sophomore Matt Sledjeski (82) 12th and senior Matt Mauceri (88) 20th.
All six Tuckers qualified for the county tournament that will be played Nov. 1 at Rock Hill.
Mattituck (12-1, 11-1) and Eastport (11-1, 11-1) are familiar foes. For the second year in a row they were co-league champions for the regular season.
The bus ride home last Thursday was a quiet one for the Tuckers. Every now and then Ellwood yelled back random statistics about the tournament, but his players appeared fairly nonchalant about what they had done.
“They were so calm,” Ellwood said. “I think they expected it.”
Give Clippers an ‘A’ for chemistry
Greenport/Southold coach Dave Fujita goes beyond wins and losses when he evaluates a season.
Speaking of the Clippers, Fujita said, “If I were to define what a team was, these guys are the epitome of what team means to me.”
“I only hope for this type of team in the future,” he continued. “Each team is different, and I feed off their energy. I ended the season very energized by their attitude. They’re good ambassadors for both schools, for both Greenport and Southold, and for the game of golf.”
On the golf course, the Clippers didn’t do badly, either. They tied with Riverhead for third place in League VII. Both teams were 6-6, overall and in league play.
In the league tournament, Greenport/Southold finished fourth with 453 strokes.
Greenport’s No. 1 player, senior Bobby Van Mater, tied for ninth place in the league tournament with Eastport-South Manor’s Joey Busiello. They both shot 81s. Greenport senior Jack Webster (84) tied for 13th with Riverhead’s Cole Montefusco, and Greenport junior Matt Tuthill (89) tied for 18th with Bishop McGann-Mercy’s Sean Tuthill.
All three of those Clippers qualified for the county tournament. Greenport senior Charlie Poliwoda (95) missed the cut by five strokes.
For the season, Van Mater (39), Webster (41) and Tuthill (42) had the team’s best nine-hole averages.
Sophomore Tyler DeFres and junior Charlie Campbell look to figure even more prominently in Greenport’s plans next year, with the Clippers losing five seniors, including Joe Saporita and Doug Fiedler.
“The chemistry, it was one of the best teams to be around,” Fujita said. “I can’t think of a better experience.”