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Smithtown West's Robert Montagnino wins Suffolk golf title

Suffolk individual champion Robert Montagnino of Smithtown West

Suffolk individual champion Robert Montagnino of Smithtown West holds his trophy after the boys individual golf championships on Thursday, May 21, 2015 at Rock Hill Golf Club. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Smithtown West's Robert Montagnino could not have picked a better day to have the round of his life.

The senior shot a 2-under 69 at Rock Hill Country Club and birdied the par-4 first hole in a sudden-victory playoff to capture the Suffolk County individual boys golf championship Thursday.

"If I had to think of my best round, it would have to be this," said Montagnino, who surged to the top of the leader board two days after shooting a 6-over 77 in the first round. He shot a 1-under 34 on the front nine and a 1-under 35 on the back nine Thursday to force a playoff against Eastport-South Manor's Kyle Tillinghast.

He opened the playoff with a strong tee shot, before lofting a shot from the fairway that set up a 1-foot putt for birdie.

"I remember I played with him last year. He's a great competitor," Montagnino said of Tillinghast, whom he defeated in a playoff last season for the final spot in the state tournament. "I was nervous on the tee but I was trying to just go out there and hit the best shots I could."

Montagnino said he did not make any changes to his approach after Tuesday. "I came out, played my game and it just went better," he said. "I just wanted to play the golf I could. If you told me I was going to win on Tuesday, I would've said you're wrong," but added he "is excited" things turned out the way they did.

Ward Melville won its first county team championship since 2012, edging Sayville via tiebreaker. Jack Faraci (147), Gerry Mackedon (148), Connor McGee (164), Matt Mirocco (157) and Kevin Moore (162) combined to shoot a 778, and Brandon Lee's 169 broke the tie.

"It's an accomplishment I'm going to cherish," Faraci said.

"We click as a team, so it's easy to work together when you're close," Mackedon said.

In addition to Montagnino, Tillinghast, Mackedon and Faraci, Sayville's Brendan Haselton and Michael Nadeau, Northport's Sean Healy, Huntington's Jim Smoot and Southampton's Christian Oakley qualified for the state tournament, which begins May 30 at Cornell.

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