LECANTO — After Austin Padova qualified for the state tournament as a sophomore at Ridgewood last season, his father promised him a Mustang if he could duplicate the feat a year later.
On Monday, Padova moved one step closer to his new set of wheels.
Padova, now a junior at first-year Fivay, won the A-9 tournament after firing 2-under par 70 on the Ranch Course at Black Diamond.
Padova was six strokes better than his nearest competitor, Brandon Mumaw of Wesley Chapel (76).
“I’ve got something to go for, I guess. A little added motivation,” Padova said. “We shook on it. I don’t think he’ll back out.”
Padova blistered through the course with four birdies and two bogeys. His score could have been lower had he not missed a 4-inch putt on hole No. 3 after nonchalantly trying to tap in and coming up short.
Other than that hiccup, Padova was consistent.
“I hit the fairways and greens and two-putted all day for the most part,” he said. “If I missed the green, which was rare today, I was able to chip it up to within a couple feet and tap it in. Never really had any danger of bogeys.”
Saddlebrook, paced by Wanguemert Torrent’s 79, was first in the team competition by five strokes after compiling a score of 323. All four of Saddlebrook’s top four golfers were within three strokes of each other. Alex Bensahel fired 80 while Adam Chowdhari and Daniel Hori both recorded 82s.
Fivay was second at 328. Besides Padova, Jacob Schoonover had 81, Nick Piro shot 86 and Travis Paxton 91 for the Falcons.
Mumaw and Jacob Fleck (78) were Wesley Chapel’s top golfers; the team finished third at 336 and advanced to regionals. J.J. Amerman came in at 90 and Noah Fleck at 92 for the Wildcats.
Carrollwood Day’s Ryan Hoverman moves on to regionals after scoring 91 and finishing as the top individual not on one of the top three qualifying teams. Teammate Alec Luaces will join him after firing 95.
Academy at the Lakes’ Michael Davidson also dvanced as an individual after shooting 98.