The Eastport South Manor and Mattituck boys golf teams duked it out throughout the fall for the League VII regular-season title, so it wasn’t a surprise when the two teams went toe-to-toe at the inaugural League VII Tournament on October 23 at Cherry Creek Golf Club in Riverhead.
Just as it did during the regular season, ESM squeaked past Mattituck, winning the tournament by a single stroke, 446-447. Third-place Shelter Island shot a team score of 458, while Riverhead finished fourth with a 469. Greenport/Southold finished fifth with a 472, Mercy finished sixth with a 492 and Hampton Bays finished last with a 496.
ESM and Mattituck, since they finished first and second, respectively, in League VII during the regular season, already earned spots at the Suffolk County Tournament, which takes place in the spring. Shelter Island, for its third place finish, earned the right to send its team to counties.
ESM head coach Todd Skala said he knew his team had a good shot at winning the tournament and figured it was going to be a tough day going against Mattituck. He said it was also tough not being able to go out on the greens with his players and the only way he knew how his team was doing was when the scores would come in.
“I had to sit in the clubhouse by the board and I was getting nervous just waiting to hear the scores,” he said. “It’s a nice feather for the kids’ caps. We knew we were going to counties already, but this is nice for a young team to get.”
ESM knew it was going to reach the county team tournament but nothing was set in stone individually. To qualify for the county individual tournament, golfers had to shoot under a 97 and be in the top 25 and all six of the Sharks golfers were able to that.
Trevor Halye shot a low-score of 84 on the day, which placed him fourth overall in the tournament. Kyle Tillinghast placed eighth with an 86, Joey Busiello placed 10th with a 90, Connor Mantel placed 12th with a 92, Joey Bonsignore placed 16th with a 94 and Riley Kesler placed 23rd with a 96.
“We didn’t play our best golf that day, but it’s a long course at Cherry Creek and, with us being a young team, it’s tough for them to really drive the ball well,” Skala said. “The rough was also tough, but I’m definitely happy to get everyone in.”
Now that the fall season is over, Skala said his players will have to practice on their own to keep their individual games in shape. He said his team is allowed 10 practices in the spring, and they will use all of them. And then they’ll try their best to win the Conference IV title, which is Leagues VII and VIII combined, at the county tournament.
Many of the ESM golfers work and practice at either Rock Hill or Pine Hill Golf Courses in Manorville. Last week, there was a rumor that the county tournament would be held at Rock Hill, which would set up nicely for the Sharks. But Skala heard more recently that Section XI, the governing body of Suffolk County high school athletics, may opt to keep the tournament at Indian Island Golf Course in Riverhead.
The Baymen may have finished last in the tournament, but saw a silver lining when senior Matt Agoglia qualified for the county tournament with his score of 94. Hampton Bays head coach Rich Gostic said it’ll be a nice way to close out his career. Agoglia, who has been on the team since the seventh grade, scored the most match points during the season for the Baymen and had the best match average (44).
“He was a leader on the team and, in terms of being consistent, he was the man for us,” Gostic said.
Ross Hamilton missed the cut by a single stroke while Kevin Agoglia shot a 99, just two over the cut.