In high school boys golf, the home team typically has a big advantage, thanks to familiarity with the nuances of the home course gleaned from weeks of playing and practicing there.
But in League VIII this season, the visiting team has scored key upsets on several occasions—and, as of Monday morning, those shake-ups put three teams in a position to win at least a share of the league title.
A match between Pierson (8-1) and East Hampton (6-2), scheduled for Tuesday, October 14, at Pierson’s home course, Noyac Golf Club, would be a deciding factor in the league title. (Results will be in next week’s edition). A win for Pierson would mean a tie for the title between Southampton (7-1) and Pierson. A loss would create the potential for a three-way tie for the title between Pierson, East Hampton and Southampton, assuming East Hampton wins its final two matches. East Hampton is the defending league champ, while Southampton won in 2012. Prior to 2012, East Hampton won or shared 12 straight league crowns.
Pierson—which has never won the league title, according to head coach Sean Crowley—put itself in position to claim at least a share of the crown by knocking off East Hampton at its home course, South Fork Country Club, earlier in the year, and more recently by beating Southampton, 7-2, at the Southampton Golf Club on Thursday. It was the first home loss for Southampton in at least three seasons, and possibly longer, according to head coach Tim Schreck, who has only been at the helm for three years.
Pierson had a team stroke total of 217, the best score by a visiting team at Southampton all year, and Whaler Jack Brown’s score of 37 was the lowest by a visiting player at Southampton in years as well, according to Schreck. Christian Oakley led Southampton at the top spot, shooting a 41 to beat Charles Canavan by one stroke. Pierson won the next four head-to-head matches, with Ben Kushner (43) beating Matt Morgani (48); Matt Burke (44) beating Tim Kreymborg (48); Brown (37) beating Andrew Wesnofske (53); and Tyler LaBorne (51) beating Caroline Oakley (53). Southampton’s Jack Healey (48) also beat Greg Baum (59). Southampton had a team stroke total of 38.
A day earlier, Pierson cruised past Ross, 8-1, at the East Hampton Golf Club. Pierson had a 233-267 lead in team stroke total, and Canavan led the team with a 41.
Before losing to Pierson, Southampton beat Ross, 8.5-0.5, at home on September 30. The Mariners had their lowest team total of the year at 211, led by a 2-over 36 by Oakley on the front nine and a 39 by Kreymborg.
On October 2, Southampton beat Westhampton Beach, 7-2, at the Westhampton Country Club. Oakely shot a 1-over 36, leading Southampton in a 240-257 advantage in team stroke total. The Mariners also got a crucial 5-4 home win over East Hampton on the front nine at Southampton Golf Club. East Hampton won four of the six head-to-head matches, but Southampton won the team stroke total battle by seven strokes, resulting in an extra three points. Oakley shot a 34 to beat Turner Foster (46) at the top spot, which was key in winning the team stroke total. Steven Kane and Josue Palacios led East Hampton, each shooting 42. Morgani (43) lost by a stroke at the second spot, while Kreymborg (40) won his match by two strokes.
East Hampton rebounded with consecutive 9-0 wins, beating Center Moriches on the road on October 8 and Westhampton Beach at home a day later. Foster shot a 39 against Center Moriches and a 44 against Westhampton Beach, while Kane had a 37 against Westhampton Beach and a 38 against Center Moriches.
ON THE SCHEDULE: Tuesday, 10/14, Center Moriches at Southampton, 3:30 p.m. and East Hampton at Pierson, 3:30 p.m.; Thursday, 10/16, Southampton at East Hampton, 3:30 p.m.