LITHIA — The team that finished four strokes away from a Class 2A state golf title a season ago has a little more to prove, and the competition is thick.
Newsome (10-2) will look to show it is again ready to prove its worth against the top teams in the state as the Wolves take part in the Qdoba Tournament of Champions at Davenport Providence Golf Club. The tournament will feature the top teams from Florida.
“This will be a good one, with the top four teams last year from (Class) 2A and the top three from 1A,” coach Jim Govreau said. “Eight or nine teams in total of the best golfers in the state.”
The competition thus far has seen only Plant beat the Wolves in Hillsborough County competition, but the top battles for Newsome, though friendly, might be internal.
Right now, there are just a little more than five strokes separating the Wolves' top six golfers.
The battle at the top is no surprise, as last year's district individual medalist John Michael Coultas and Class 2A fourth-place finisher Tyler Bakich are going back and forth, with Bakich holding a 35 strokes per-nine average and Coultas right on his heels at 35.17.
The golfers, who spend a lot of time during the offseason working on their games together, played down any rivalry and are looking to this weekend as a big step for the squad.
“We have to see how we play 18 this weekend. That's the big thing for us right now,” Bakich said. “We've played in individual tournaments for so long, we are kind of used to (the competition), between he and I, we'll just see what happens.”
“It's always good to have great competition out on the course,” Coultas added. “But were just having fun out there.”
Govreau said both golfers are solid leaders, but he said there is a little bit of pride associated with the top spot.
“I can tell you right now, Tyler does not want John Michael to pass him,” Govreau said. “And John Michael would kill to pass him, so it will be really great this weekend to see what they do.”
The battle at Nos. 3 and 4 is even tighter, as Mark Nauert and Kyle West are tied this season with a 38.83 average heading into the final few matches.
“I think the tighter battle, where there is more tension, is the (Nos.) 3 and 4, and 5 and 6,” Bakich said. “Between those guys, those guys are really fighting.
“Me and John Michael, we're fine. Those guys are really close together.”
Another tough decision looming for Govreau will be choosing Newsome's final starter for the district tournament, as sophomore Andrew Wally and Justin Wendling are vying for the last spot, and both are averaging just over 40 per-nine holes.
“We have battles all over the place right now,” Govreau said.