ZEPHYRHILLS — Matt Ruel got a sneak peek over the weekend.
“I just wanted to get a feel for the course and see what it had to offer,” the Jesuit High sophomore said. “There was no pressure, but (Monday) was a different atmosphere, which helped my game.”
The practice round paid off as Ruel shot a 4-under-par 68 at Silverado Golf and Country Club for his first individual district crown. Ruel went bogey-free with 14 pars and birdied Nos. 8, 11, 12 and 14 to lead his Tigers to the Class 2A-District 15 title with a team score of 300.
Playing in 2A for the first time, Jesuit has eight straight district titles.
On the 6,671-yard course, the Tigers also got a 75 from Alex Murawski, a 78 from Kurt Sierra and a 79 from Joseph Trim, which were second-, fifth- and sixth-place finishes.
Jesuit beat runner-up Wesley Chapel, which was led by Zach Lemmens’ 78 and Tyler Rover’s 80.
Sunlake and Zephyrhills both shot 350 and needed a playoff to determine the third qualifying team. The Seahawks, led by Jake Roberts’ 75, shot an even-par 16 in the playoff, beating the Bulldogs by two strokes.
There was also a two-hole playoff to determine the three individual qualifiers among four golfers who shot 85 and didn’t advance with their teams. Zephyrhills’ Stephen Pollack, Pasco’s Turner Imhoff and Land O’ Lakes’ Lawrence Cai advanced to next week’s region tournament.
Chamberlain’s Black wins 3A-10 in playoff
TAMPA — Chamberlain junior Norman Black said he felt confident from his first tee shot in the Class 3A-District 10 tournament. After making the turn at 1 under, the Chiefs’ No. 1 shot even on the back nine to finish with a 71.
“It started on the first hole,” Black said. “I was sort of nervous, but I hit my tee shot a lot better than I thought I would.”
Black and Freedom junior Liam Doherty finished tied for first before Black won with a par on the second playoff hole.
Black admitted the nerves returned heading up for his second go-around at Temple Terrace’s first hole.
Both players made things interesting on the first playoff as Doherty left his tee shot behind a tree and had to play back, and Black’s second shot was limited by the same tree with a lie just in front. Both players bogeyed the first hole before with Black missing a 5-foot putt for par.
“I knew I had this putt for the win and I got a little shaky and pulled it,” Black said.
On the second playoff hole at No. 2, Doherty again had to use an extra swing to get out from behind a tree and Black finished with a par to take the hole and the individual medalist honors.
“(Doherty) had a great recovery shot on his third,” Black said. “So I knew I had to go up to the green and get a par.”
Freedom shot a 308 led by Doherty’s 71, and its seniors, Jimmy Jones, who shot 77 (tie for fourth) and Charles Seward, who turned in a sixth-place 78, finishing well ahead of King at 321, led by junior Ajani Liggins (third, 72).
Also qualifying for the region tourney was Wharton, which shot a 335 behind top-10 finishes from Ricky Condon (81) and Sean Kim (82), and joining Black as individuals were Hillsborough’s Christopher Flaherty (77) and Wiregrass Ranch’s Bryce Wilson (84).
Fivay’s Fluke earns trip to region tourney
BROOKSVILLE — Depending on what numbers the coaches crunched, on paper three Hernando County teams appeared poised for a photo finish in the six-team Class 2A-District 13 Tournament.
Going in, two shots separated three teams — Hernando, Nature Coast Technical and Springstead.
Not surprisingly at the end of 18 holes along the 6,530-yard Silverthorn Country Club layout, Springstead and host NCT tied with 349 totals.
Hernando finished third with a 354, followed by Fivay (389), Central (407), Weeki Wachee (436) and Hudson (488).
With darkness quickly approaching, Springstead and NCT gathered for a one-hole sudden-death playoff to determine the district champion.
After the extra hole, the Eagles edged the Sharks by one stroke.
Nature Coast junior Jake Arnett earned his second straight district crown with an even-par 72, topping Springstead’s Brazon Dixon and Hernando’s Cody Montgomery by seven shots.
While the Eagles, Sharks and Leopards each advanced to the region tournament at Fox Hollow, so did three players not associated with those squads: Weeki Wachee junior Mike Rampino (83), Fivay senior Sean Fluke (91) and Central junior Jans Tamayo (94).