A county title is in striking distance for both Tyler Gerbavsits and Steven Goodman.
Huntington’s Gerbavsits and Sachem East’s Goodman both shot 6-over-par 77 at Rock Hill to tie for the lead on the first day of the Suffolk boys golf championships. Players from Leagues I through IV began play Monday, while those from Leagues V through VIII will tee off on Tuesday. The tournament will conclude on Thursday.
“I was pumped coming into it and hit the ball well,” said Gerbavsits, who was a first-team All-Long Island player after coming in fifth in last season’s county tournament and tying for 10th at the state tournament. The junior shot a 38 on the front nine and a 39 on the back.
Goodman, a senior at Sachem East, shot a 42 on the front nine before surging on the back, where his 35 was the day’s best nine-hole score. “I was starting to find more fairways and give myself some more putts for birdie,” he said. Goodman narrowly missed a hole-in-one on the par-3 17th, where his tee shot finished inches from the hole. He sunk the ensuing short putt for his second birdie on the back nine.
Joe Tammaro of West Islip, Jackson Weisbrot of Half Hollow Hills West and Kyle Zere of Connetquot all shot 78s, and Harborfields’ Pat Healy shot a 79.
Unlike past seasons, all eight leagues in the county competed during the fall season, allowing the county tournament to be moved from the spring.
“It came up really quick, we just played here a few months ago,” Gerbavsits said. “Knowing the course and knowing what to hit on each tee shot really helps.”
Of course, playing in late October, rather than May or June, increases the likelihood of weather playing a role, and both Gerbavsits and Goodman said it was a factor on Monday.
“It was cold, so contact was a little different, and you had to figure out the wind,” Goodman said. He added he had a hard time finding the fairway initially but played well enough from the rough to get through the front nine, before making his run on the back.
“The course was playing really hard,” Gerbavsits said. “The wind was ridiculous and the pins were in tough positions, but I hit a couple of key shots and just kept it straight . . . I want to play the same way Thursday, keep it straight and stay confident.”
As for the team competition, Northport is the early leader after combining to shoot a 424, led by Spencer Ruthkowski (82) and Pat Raffone (83). Smithtown East, led by Eric Bholan (82) and Jack McQuade (82), is narrowly behind with a 426.