SEMINOLE — There are hair-raising moments, exposed nerve-endings and constant pressure at district golf tournaments.
Seminole’s Eric Ines was at the height of nervousness last year when he played in his first district tournament as a freshman.
This year was different.
From his opening tee shot Monday, Ines’ games and nerves were steady as he won individual honors at the Class 2A, District 13 tournament with 71, one stroke ahead of St. Petersburg’s M.J. Maguire and two ahead of Maguire’s brother, Jack.
“I struggled a little bit last year,” Ines said. “That was probably due to being a freshman. I started strong this time, had a lot more confidence and stayed under or even par the whole day.”
On his first hole, Ines drove to the middle of the fairway. Two shots later, he hit a 15-foot putt to make birdie. He maintained the lead the rest of the way.
Besides Ines, the Warhawks also got solid contributions from Tyler Zacur (77), Sean Knight (78) and Adam Norris (79), who finished with a combined score of 305 to beat the defending district champion Green Devils by nine strokes.
“We have guys who can play pretty consistently,” Seminole coach Jim Berrill said. “There’s a good balance with this team, and that was the difference.”
Osceola shot 327 to advance to regionals for the first time in more than 10 years. The Warriors pulled through thanks to a stellar performance from their top two golfers, Andrew Leneweaver and Austin Power, who both made drastic improvements from last year’s tournament. Leneweaver finished with 76, which was 15 strokes better than last year’s score. Power went from 108 last year to 80 Monday.
The three individuals who advanced to the region tournament were Pinellas Park’s Zack Zimbaro (77), Northeast’s Kyle Kubala (80) and Boca Ciega’s Skyler Estes (80).