TEMPLE TERRACE — Roughly 48 hours before the Class 2A, District 10 tournament, King’s players engaged in what amounted to an 18-hole clinic, playing the rolling Temple Terrace course with two members of the Lions’ 1969 state title team.
Those alumni — Phil Reid and Brian Hawke — comprised half of a Lions foursome that GolfWorld magazine once selected the nation’s best ever at the prep level.
On Monday, the tutelage of those elder Lions, not to mention some of their 40-year-old mojo, rubbed off on their teen-aged brethren.
Behind individual medalist Tyler Weed, King — barely a .500 team in the regular season — rolled past favorites Plant and Gaither to win its second district crown in three years. Each of the four Lions who scored had the best 18-hole effort of his respective prep career.
“We played probably the toughest schedule in Hillsborough County,” said coach Barrett Zebos, whose team’s 318 topped Gaither by eight strokes and defending champ Plant by 10.
“At one time our record was 3-6. I said, ‘Don’t worry about it.’ They got better, didn’t give up and believed in themselves.”
Weed, a junior whose 5-over 77 was three shots better than his previous-best high school round, finished in a three-way tie for medalist honors with Gaither sophomore Jimmy Stanger and defending champion Gary Buffington of Chamberlain.
On the first playoff hole, Stanger hit his second shot — a 9-iron — at the foot of a tree 15 feet beyond the green for double-bogey to drop out.
Buffington and Weed, meantime, hit par on the first two holes before Weed’s 9-iron approach shot on the par-4 No. 3 sailed 125 yards and landed roughly 8 feet from the pin, resulting in a par. Buffington, meantime, went into a right-side bunker on his second shot and overshot the green on his third.
“I was making a lot of putts; I got pretty lucky,” said Weed, who had 1-over 37 at the turn in regulation. “I played pretty good.”
Lions sophomore Sam Kloppenburg finished with a 1-over 37 on the back nine en route to 78. Hunter McPhillips (79) and Joe Scicchitano (84) rounded out scoring for King, which moves on to Monday’s region 4 tournament in Trinity.
Plant and Gaither also earned region team berths. Buffington and Alonso teammates Ryan Stone (78) and Jacob Philbeck (81) also move on to Trinity as the top three individual finishers not on the top three finishing teams.