The Shelter Island High School varsity golf team has finished another winning season. After defeating both McGann/Mercy and Hampton Bays in away matches last week, the Indians concluded the fall season with a winning record of seven wins and five losses.
Losing their number-one player Jake Card to High Point University this year was a concern for the Indians but not enough to stop them from continuing their consistent play.
All of the 2012 players score just about the same but it was Hunter Starzee who took over Jake’s number-one spot this season. Starzee had the low average for the year but the rest of the boys were all within a few shots of their leader. Myles Clark, Matthew Dunning, Spencer Gibbs, Riley Willumsen, Matt BeltCappellino and Nathan Mundy all have such reliable scoring that any player can start in almost any position.
The two biggest disappointments for the Indians this year came in losses to Mattituck by four shots and to Eastport by two.
This was my first year as a coach. When I initially watched these guys hit on the driving range, I wondered if they could ever lose a match. They were hitting drivers close to 300 yards and most times straight. Chipping and putting was better than I expected. But to my surprise, their scores didn’t show their abilities when they went out on the course. There is a saying that the longest walk in golf is the one from the driving range to the first tee. Just as in all sports, you need to play in order to score well. For such little actual time on a golf course, these boys are excellent players; it would be a coach’s dream to work with them for a couple of years and enjoy seeing their improvement.
The team will be losing two seniors next year, Hunter Starzee and Myles Clark, but it should be in good shape for the 2013 season. After that, we start to get concerned. In this small school, we need some 7th and 8th graders to step up, get involved and hold onto this winning record.
The team matches are over for the season but on Tuesday, October 23, the Indians will be traveling to the Cherry Creek Golf Club in Riverhead to qualify for the new format of the county tournament, which will be played in the spring. This new format eliminates half the players that compete, making it even tougher to play in the county tournament.
We wish them the best!