Taylor K. Vecsey | June 2, 2011 (for EastHamptonPatch original article)
For the first time in history, East Hampton High School’s boys golf team won the Long Island Championship, beating the two-time defending champion Farmingdale by four shots at the Nassau school’s home course, Bethpage Black, on Wednesday.
The Bonackers made up 18 shots on the back nine, according to coach Claude Beudert, who was still reeling from the excitement on Thursday.
They came home on Wednesday evening to an escort from the village police and fire departments. “They started out the day being young boys and to win the Long Island championship, they grew up,” Beudert said, “and when they were in the bus, they reverted right back. They were sticking their heads out the window, everyone was applauding. It was a terrific feeling. I just soaked it in.
“We always said this is the best team East Hampton has ever had,” Beudert said. “This just solidifies it. It’s every school on Long Island — not class A and double A. It’s Floral Park to Montauk, and we beat Farmingdale, who won by 51 shots over Cold Spring Harbor, on their home score.” Farmingdale had also won 44 straight matches prior to Wednesday.
This season also marks the first time East Hampton took home the Suffolk County championship after the two-day tournament in May. East Hampton beat Ward Melville by 7 shots.
The closest they ever came to the county title before was last year, when they finished fifth to Kings Park, which ended up winning.
On Wednesday morning, the six best players boarded a mini-bus at 6:30 a.m. for Bethpage, where the 2009 US Open was held.
“Bethpage is probably one of the toughest courses in America,” said Beudert, who has been coaching the golf team since 1986. “Our kids have never really played it. In fact, some of us played it for the first time on Monday,” during a practice round.
The six best players — led by co-captain Zach Grossman — played the best six from Farmingdale, with each match being worth a point. The high scores are thrown out and the remaining five are added up — the lowest gets three points.
East Hampton won 7 to 2, having won four matches and getting three for the low score. Overall, they finished 434-438.
Senior Grossman, who was the Suffolk County champion, shot a 77, beating Nassau County Champion Matt Lowe, who shot 78. Beudert called it a great match-up.
“Unofficially, Zach is probably the best golfer on Long Island.”
While Grossman is the star shooter, he’s hasn’t been on the team throughout high school. He played on the varsity team while he was in seventh and eighth grade, but then his family moved to South Carolina, where he played on a competitive high school team. “Fortunately we were lucky enough to come back,” Beudert said.
Sophomore Ian Lynch, who finished fifth in the county and is headed to the state tournament with Grossman, shot an 83, beating Kyle Brey with an 87. Cameron Yusko shot an 88 prevailing over Farmingdale’s Mike Saccone, who shot a 96.
Co-captain John Nolan lost Farmingdale’s Mike Zelanzy; 9o-83. Beudert said Nolan was never down more than seven shots the whole match, which was important to their overall score.
“John just stayed the course and did what he could,” Beudert said. “John took the trophy home last night because he’s been with us for five years,” Beudert said. “John has been nothing but a winner even since he played golf with us.”
In fact, the team has taken home seven straight league titles — 11 in the past 13 years, according to Buedert.
East Hampton’s John Pizzo also lost, shooting a 96 while Kyle Garry shot a 94. “Again, only losing by two shots helped us,” Beudert said of Pizzo’s effort.
Jimmy McMullen won for East Hampton with 98 over Alex Lowe’s 114, but that score was tossed.
Not only was Farmingdale the favorite to win the Long Island title, but East Hampton was also at a disadvantage in the playoffs in that the team plays its season in the fall, not the spring. Four of its six players also play other sports in the spring, while all but one of Farmingdale’s players focuses on golf all year long.
“This is a dedicated group. They really work hard at something that they love,” Beudert said.
Grossman and Lynch are among the nine from Section XI who will compete at the Cornell University Golf Course in Ithaca on Saturday and Sunday. Grossman last played in States as an eighth grader.
Only three others have gone to States before, Beudert said; Duane Bock, who finished second in 1985, and Alex Tekulsky and Shane Hannabury in 2003.