With a 7-2 win this Tuesday against the Westhampton Hurricanes, the Pierson Whalers varsity golf team have snapped a two-game losing streak and are now well on their way to matching the record of last year’s breakout season. The win against the Hurricanes put them right back on track to catch the league-leading, defending Long Island champion East Hampton Bonackers.
“All things go through East Hampton right now,” said varsity coach Sean Crowley.
The Whalers are 4-2 on the season in league play; currently in third place in League VII behind only East Hampton (6-0) and the Southampton Mariners (5-1).
“In order to really get to the next level, we need to start beating Southampton and we need to start beating East Hampton,” said Crowley.
The Whalers have already lost once this year to both of these teams in away games.
While the win against the Hurricanes (who are 2-4) put the Whalers on the right track for their own championship run, they still won’t be considered a top team until they can prove they can defeat either of these two regional powerhouses. Luckily they will have the chance to do just that in the coming weeks.
Tuesday’s win had the Whalers playing in cold, humid weather at the front-nine of the Noyac Golf Club, where they had to battle against a two-club wind (20 mph) throughout the day. Despite the less than clement circumstances at the team’s home course, they took the match in decisive fashion.
“I think the first four holes are the ones that cause the most problems,” said Crowley in reference to the Whalers’ home course at Noyac. “If our players get through the first four holes okay they usually have a pretty good day.”
Junior Gabe Denon, the team’s number two player, had the low score of the day with 41, beating his nine-hole average this season by two strokes.
The team suffered a brief scare in the midst of the winning effort. The team’s number one, junior Dillon Decker, recorded his first loss of the year when he forfeited his match due to an injury after playing only four holes.
“He came into the match with a little bit of a twinge, he said it happened because he over practiced over the weekend,” said Crowley downplaying the injury.
Decker looks good to go in the future, but losing him to injury would have been a big blow to the Whalers’ chances this year. His individual record is now 5-1-1 with a team low average of 39.16.
“[Decker and Denon] are really committed to the game,” said Crowley. “Right now they are doing everything a junior golfer needs to do in order to get better; they take the game more seriously than everybody else here.”
The team’s three and four golfers are senior Harrison Bayrami and sophomore Jack Bori. Both of them have averaged 45.66 strokes in nine-holes through the season.
Bayrami helped solidify Tuesday’s win by taking his match with a score of 46. Crowley has said that the four year varsity player’s off-the-course leadership and on-the-course ability have both contributed to the team’s success.
“Bori is one of my players that has shown great promise for the future,” said Crowley.
Bori’s season low this year was a 39, which he hit in the 2-7 loss to Southampton on September 22.
Rounding out the six man roster on Tuesday were the team’s five and six, sophomore Max Snow and junior Jake Bennett. Both golfers have been averaging around 50 strokes through the season.
After the game, Crowley took special note of Charlie Canavan who tallied a 49 in an exhibition round. A good round with an exceptionally strong start from the young freshman, like the one this Tuesday, could lead to greater things in the coming years.
Crowley is confident that the team, as configured, can reach last year’s 8-4 record, and even surpass it. As he said, it all comes down to the games against Southampton and East Hampton.
“Our scoring numbers so far are actually lower than last year,” said a confident Crowley. “I think we can pull it off.”
The next league game for the Whalers is today, October 6 against the last place Center Moriches Red Devils at the Pine Hills Country Club. The team gets their next crack at the Bonackers at the Noyac Golf Club on Tuesday, October 18.