Middle Country's Michael Miranda wins third straight Suffolk golf title
Facing the wind, rain and a field of golfers gunning for his title, Michael Miranda had a challenge on his hands Thursday.
Undeterred, the Middle Country senior overcame all obstacles to make history.
Miranda shot a 149 over two days at Rock Hill Golf Club at the Suffolk County championships, becoming Suffolk's first player to win three consecutive individual county titles.
"It's the best feeling I've ever had so far on a golf course," said Miranda, who attends Newfield High School and will play for St. Thomas Aquinas next year.
Miranda shot a 2-over 73 Tuesday and a 76 Thursday. While wind was a factor both days, conditions were especially difficult Thursday, with both rain and a half-hour lightning delay.
"It's tough with all the conditions: the weather, having to play in a tournament, everything [being] on the line," he said. "It feels great to come out on top."
"The way he plays the game is phenomenal," said Middle Country coach Don Matlock. "He's a fantastic young man. He taught me more than I could ever teach him."
Miranda said his strong start Tuesday, which included a 1-under-par 34 on the front nine, was key to his overall title push.
"I was hitting the ball great," Miranda said of his performance Tuesday. "My short game was very good. I was making all the clutch putts I needed to make." The effort, he added was indicative of "all the practice I've done with my short game. It went from being one of the worst parts of my game to one of the strongest."
Taking a four-stroke lead into Thursday "definitely helped," Miranda said, "knowing that you had a lead and a cushion," given the day's conditions.
"It was brutal today, but fighting it out is one of my best accomplishments so far," he said.
Ward Melville junior Jack Faraci and Huntington sophomore Jim Smoot both shot a 155. Faraci finished in second, breaking the tie because of a better Day 2 score.
Sayville won the team championship with a score of 805, beating out Ward Melville (824) and Huntington (834).