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LUTZ — Because Jesuit graduated so many of its top players from last year’s team, coach George LaPenna wasn’t overly optimistic when the current season began.
“I thought we’d have trouble winning a match,” he said.
On Tuesday, the Tigers won the district.
Playing in windy conditions on a Cheval Golf and Country Club course that is tough enough under ideal circumstances, Jesuit got 7-over-par 79 from Brian Lanoue and finished with a 331 team total to defeat Berkeley Prep by six for the Class A, District 14 title. Steinbrenner (350), which was third, also advanced to regionals.
“We came out, had fun and played hard as a team,” said Jesuit’s Willi Martin.
Berkeley Prep junior Blake Morris took medalist honors with 75. Only two other players — Lanoue and Morris’ brother, Chandler, a sixth-grader — broke 80.
“Today was windy, and this course doesn’t set up for birdies,” Morris said. “I stood strong and didn’t let it get to me. I played a really good round. The winds were like 25 mph. Anywhere else, my score would have been a 70 or 71. It was four or five shots tougher out there.”
Jesuit’s individual scores weren’t great, but the Tigers were consistent, counting rounds of 79, 81, 85 and 86. By comparison, Berkeley Prep, which was strong at the top of its lineup, had to use a 94.
“I think we’re peaking at the right time,” Martin said.