By Gavin Menu
Dillon Decker faded his opening tee shot down the right side of the first hole at the Southampton Golf Club Tuesday afternoon as the Pierson varsity golf team set out to defeat Southampton in an attempt to claim at least a share of this year’s League VIII title.
“You have to hit the fairways here,” Decker said as his strode toward the green and his second shot. “It’s a tough course if you don’t.”
Decker shot a team-best 38 in dark and wet conditions to easily win his match over Matt Kreymborg (49), but it was not enough in the end. The undefeated Mariners took down Pierson, 5 ½ – 3 ½, to continue their unbeaten streak. Southampton has three matches remaining — against Westhampton Beach, Center Moriches and East Hampton, all of which they have already defeated this year — and will likely clinch the league title early next week.
Pierson (7-2), which has just one league match remaining against East Hampton today, October 11, at the South Fork Country Club, has had a remarkable season on many fronts, but one beset by two narrow losses to the rival Mariners. Tuesday’s match was incredibly tight with Gabe Denon, Pierson’s top player, losing by just one stroke, 40-39, to Scott Ricca.
Jack Bori shot a 43, Charles Canavan a 46 and Ben Kushner a 53 for Pierson, but all fell short of their opponents’ scores. Brad Reiner, playing in the sixth spot, shot a 49 to defeat his opponent Chris Cornaccio (53) in Pierson’s only other win of the day.
The result was a 4-2 lead in head-to-head matches in favor of Southampton, but each team, remarkably, posted identical team stroke totals of 216. The three points normally awarded to the team with the lowest total score, therefore, were split, resulting in the final tally, meaning that if any Pierson player had shot just one stroke lower, the win and a likely share of the league title would have gone to the Whalers.
“It is hard to get much closer than that,” Pierson head coach Sean Crowley said, commending Southampton and its first-year coach Tim Schreck for a great season. “My team was certainly disappointed, but we competed as a team and I am proud of our team.”
Pierson’s top two players, Denon and Decker, as well as the entire Whalers team, will get another shot at redemption this fall. Tomorrow, Friday, October 12, will be the 3rd Annual Sebonack Invitational, where the top two players from each team within Southampton Town will be represented at the Sebonack Golf Club. Denon and Decker, therefore, will get a chance to compete against Ricca and Kreymborg, as well as the top two players from Westhampton Beach and Hampton Bays.
Following that, the first-ever League VIII Fall Tournament will be held at the Rock Hill Country Club in Manorville on Thursday, October 18. The top two teams will automatically send their entire line-up to next spring’s Suffolk County tournament. In addition, the top 24 individual players will also earn entry into the county shuffle.
“It gives some finality to the fall season,” Crowley said before adding with a smile, “and some more bragging rights.”