WEEKI WACHEE — On Sunday night, best friends Bishop McLaughlin’s Kentaro Toyota and Crystal River’s Brad Kidd got into a texting war as both guaranteed victory over the other in the District A-8 tournament the next day.
While it’s unsure who won the texting smackdown, Toyota left little doubt who was better on The Dunes course in Weeki Wachee. Not only did he defeat his friend and playing partner by three strokes, but Monday Toyota’s 1-over-par 73 was good enough to earn him his second straight district title.
Toyota and Hernando’s Zach Teele went into their final hole, the par-3 eighth, tied at 1 over. Teele, however, had bunker trouble and double bogeyed the hole while Toyota two-putted to save his par and clinch the title.
“Yeah, we were going at it most of the night,” said Toyota, a senior, as he recalled the Sunday night showdown. “We’ve played against each other a lot lately. In fact we were in a tournament against each other this past weekend and Brad was way better than I was. It sure didn’t feel like I was shooting a 1 over today. I seemed to be scrambling on every hole.”
As for Kidd he was quick to admit, “If I couldn’t win it, I’m glad Kentaro won it. He deserves it. He’s a great kid and an amazing golfer.”
Hurricanes coach Jim Globokar was quick to concur with Kidd’s assessment.
“Kentaro’s short game is unbelievable, It’s honestly at a professional level,” Globokar said. “He is one of the hardest-working kids in the game you’ll ever find. If he can add just a little bit of distance and maintain the same fundamentals that he has now, he will be able to play this game at the highest level.
“The thing is he’s not only a phenomenal golfer but even more so a phenomenal kid. Both him and Brad are. If I had a team of Kentaros and Brads on a college golf team I would have the easiest job in the country.”
Toyota’s low score of 73 also helped his team squeak in as the third squad to qualify for next week’s region tournament at Juliette Falls.
The Hurricanes’ 359 was one shot better than South Sumter and two better than Pasco. Also contributing to Bishop McLaughlin’s team score were Scott Hiteman (89), Dan Megiel (90) and Scott Donovan (107).
While Kidd may have lost the individual battle, his Crystal River Pirates shot a 314 and won the district title as a team. In addition to Kidd, who finished with 76, was his younger brother Michael Kidd, who matched his big brother’s 76 and Matt Mullarkey (78) and Travis Swanson (84). Hernando, led by Teele’s 75 shot a 336 to finish second. Teele was joined in his team total by Cody Montgomery (76), Bobby Conway (83) and David Underwood (102).
Pasco’s Austin Riddaugh advanced as an individual (83).