The Riverhead Blue Waves boys golf team lost its top two golfers from last year’s team that finished 6-6 in Suffolk County League VII. But its coach, Wade “Rocky” Davey, is optimistic that he has a nucleus of experienced, returning golfers who can help the team to a good season.
Riverhead will be led by seniors Tyler Crohan, Rob Pisano, Rob Chituck and Sean Harkin, along with juniors Brian Weinhardt and Tom O’Brien.
“Tom is not a particularly long hitter, but he has a good all-around game,” Davey said. “He is very good.”
Davey believes Crohan can shoot in the high 30s on the par-36, nine-hole Cherry Creek Golf Course.
“All our returning golfers are good,” he said. “They all had good experience playing last year.”
Davey believes they all are capable of shooting under 45. “We’re going to be in most matches,” he said. “We’re not going to blow anyone away, but we will stay in matches.”
Riverhead will open the season on Tuesday against Shelter Island at Cherry Creek.
“Our goal is to always win the league title,” Davey said. “Mattituck is loaded and will be hard to beat, but you never know. We can be a good team.”
While the Bishop McGann-Mercy Monarchs had a 2-10 record in League VII last year and were hit hard by graduation, losing six of nine golfers, Coach Larry Eslin has a group of promising young golfers to build around.
The Monarchs will be led by senior Dakota Trick and juniors Danny Hartmann and Eric Phelan. Eslin said Trick “consistently hits the ball down the middle of the fairway.”
“Dakota has a good all-around game,” he said. “She practiced hard during the offseason.”
Eslin said Hartmann has “grown a lot and is good off the tee. He hits it long and fairly consistent. Danny is a good putter.”
Phelan, who didn’t play much last season, did win two of his five matches.
Eslin is also hoping for big things from three newcomers to the team in sophomores Nicholas Engasser and Anthony Mercuri as well as junior Catherine Brabazon. Engasser, a transfer from William Floyd, is a good athlete who, Eslin said, “hits the ball a ton and has a careful approach to the game. He is starting to figure the game out.”
Mercuri is new to golf, but Eslin said, “Anthony has good skills and a good systematic idea how to play the game.”
Brabazon, up from the junior varsity team, takes a serious approach to the game.
“Catherine does the most with every shot,” Eslin said. “She has a nice game.”
While the Monarchs have an inexperienced team, Eslin said this is a good bunch of players who “are willing to learn and listen and take suggestions. They are open to instructions.”
McGann-Mercy will open its season on Tuesday against Mattituck at North Fork Country Club.
Eslin said that for his team to have a chance of attaining a .500 record this season, it will have to take full advantage of its home matches at the Old Vine Golf Course in Riverhead.
“We have to figure out how to get the best out of our course,” he said. “It should be a fun year, a good year. If we pull together, I’m hoping we can get to .500.”