October 11, 2006

Bonackers Win Big at Pine Hills

Armed with arguably the most talented team in League VIII, along with the league's uncontested best golfer in Zach Grossman, the East Hampton varsity boys' golf team rolled through Pine Hills Country Club last Thursday en route to a commanding 7-2 win over Center Moriches.

The victory improved the Bonackers' 2006 fall season record to 7-0 as East Hampton continued to keep first place in the League VIII standings zippered securely in their golf bags.

"He's worth five to seven shots every round," said East Hampton golf coach Claude Beudert. "Zach's been more than five shots better than anyone in on our league this season. He's our anchor, he's so diligent in his preparation and he's a terrific influence on the team."

Grossman, an eighth grader, was the Bonackers top golfer last season and he has continued to fine tune his craft this fall as East Hampton has harnessed his talent in its quest to become league champion. In his first seven matches, Grossman has averaged an astonishingly low score of 38, winning all of them by large margins including last Thursday's win at Pine Hills where he shot another 38.

"He's got gift," Beudert said. "His iron play and chipping and putting [are his biggest strengths] and his consistency is remarkable. When you succeed as much as he has, you get a great deal of confidence. He plays the golf card, not the opponent and he has gotten to understand the importance of winning big at his position. He's like our Mariano Rivera.

In nineteen years of coaching, he's the best I have ever seen."

Freshman Garner Minetree and sophomore John McGuirk have each been solid, consistent performers for the Bonackers, averaging scores of 45 and 43 respectively while Tyler Yusco (45 average) seventh grader Cameron Yusco (46 average) and eighth grader John Nolan (46 average) continue to provide East Hampton with winning scores through the lineup. Junior Eric Hook has been successful playing from the Bonackers' latter positions, and senior John Louey has also looked promising.

Another example of the Bonackers' wealth of talent occurred during wins over both Westhampton and Southampton the previous week when James Petrie was called up and contributed in both of his matches, filling in for McGuirk who was out with an arm injury.

Last Thursday, McGuirk shot 46 to win his match while Minetree earned a tie and Cameron Yusco shot 46; the second lowest score of the day. Tyler Yusco split his match and Nolan won his. "It was a big hurdle for us to win at Pine Hills," Beudert said.

"I've asked some of the kids on the team to play bogey golf, and they've been able to do that without a problem," said Beudert. "No one plays as much as these kids do and nobody loves the game as much as they do. Those are two big hurdles that they have already overcome. There's a lot of tradition here because we have had so much success in the past few years. The schedule has also helped us this year. The familiarity of playing on our home course has also helped us in our tougher matches this season."

If Southampton defeats Westhampton next week and the Bonackers are victorious over Ross, East Hampton will win at least a share of the league title although Beudert's team still has several tough matches remaining on its schedule; ending the year at Southampton, Westhampton and Eastport. "This will be the test to see how good we are," he said. "This has been a real successful year for our team. They'll always be competitive. How far they decide to take their games is up to them. They play golf twelve months a year and they are just all improving more and more. They really have a love for the game."

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