TRINITY — Palm Harbor University’s Matt Cote is intimately familiar with Fox Hollow Golf Club, site of Tuesday’s 2A-12 boys district tournament.
Cote’s father, Matt Sr., is the head pro at the course, and the Hurricanes use Fox Hollow as their home base.
Cote estimates he plays Fox Hollow almost every day, whether with his father or his teammates.
Backed by that course knowledge, Cote fired 2-over 73 in windy conditions to win the individual district title.
“I definitely had a lot of advantage on how to play this course, especially in the wind,” Cote said. “You really have to play some low shots.”
Cote was steady through the front nine, recording seven pars and two bogeys to make the turn at 2 over. On the back he followed bogey on No. 14 with birdies on Nos. 15 and 16. He finished the back nine at even par.
“Those birdies kind of got me pumped up,” he said.
Cote almost made it three birdies in a row but missed a 3-foot putt on 17.
Still, the senior was two strokes better than his nearest competition. Dunedin’s Westin Jensen won a playoff over Tarpon Springs’ Tyler White for second place. Both shot 4-over 75.
“The back nine was incredibly tough, but Matt played better on the back than the front,” PHU coach Jim Fuller said. “The wind, plus the fast greens made the course incredibly difficult.”
The Hurricanes won their first district title under Fuller, days after claiming their first PCAC title under the third-year coach. Christian Senger shot 78, Dustin Dingus 80 and Charlie Camisasca 84 to give PHU a team score of 315, 11 strokes better than second-place East Lake.
“Matt said at the beginning of the year that he didn’t want to go to states by himself,” Fuller said. “He’s really carried us this year.”
East Lake, led by Linzy Clark (76), Sebastian Hilpl (80), Jake Johnson (81) and Terry O’Reilly (89), grabbed the runnerup spot to advance to regionals.
Dunedin took the final spot by firing 327, a stroke back of East Lake. Besides Jensen’s 75, Travis Huston fired 81, Mark Bernard 85 and Andrew Norris (86).
White claimed one of the individual slots for regionals along with Clearwater’s Matt Simpson, who finished fourth overall with 5-over 76.