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TAMPA — A day after nearly being shut out in the girls competition at the Class 2A, District 6 tournament, the North Suncoast boys weren’t about to suffer the same fate.
Three local teams advance to next week’s regional after placing in the top three at Pebble Creek Golf Club on Tuesday. And two of the three individual qualifiers are from Pasco County.
Wiregrass Ranch, buoyed by three golfers recording rounds in the 70s, won its first district championship in golf with a team score of 312. The Bulls were second the past two seasons.
“We were tired of being the bridesmaids,” Wiregrass Ranch coach Nick Cuviello said.
At 338, Land O’Lakes finished 26 strokes behind Wiregrass Ranch to claim second.
And Springstead (339) trailed the Gators into the clubhouse by a single stroke to grab the final qualifying bid ahead of Citrus (342) and Sunlake (343).
Wiregrass Ranch’s Dylan Larson won his second straight individual title, draining a 15-foot birdie putt on the par 5 No. 17 to force a playoff with Land O’Lakes’ Jon Kopsell. On the opening playoff hole, Kopsell’s approach shot landed in the first cut off the right side of the green. He tried to putt from that position — a move he later said he regretted — and came up well short, leaving a difficult 15-footer for par, which he missed.
Larson, meanwhile, stuck his approach on the front edge of the green, putted to within 3 feet and easily tapped in for par and the district title.
“I’ve never been nervous, but when I was taking the practice swings to putt, I could feel it,” admitted Larson, who had three birdies on the back nine to come from behind. “Just knowing what was at stake because I won this last year and I really wanted to do it again on my home course.”
In addition to Larson, the Bulls’ Logan Horrigan (76) and Chris Kluender (78) each played well. Matt Prenderville added a solid 86 to round out the Bulls’ team scoring.
Kopsell and Robert Nieman (79) broke 80 for Land O’Lakes and received consistent scoring from the back end of its lineup — Jesse Boger (90) and Matt Mooney (97)— to advance.
Springstead was paced by Anthony Fiocca’s 81. Ryan Nicoll carded 83, Brazon Dixon fired 85 and Mike Decruix shot 90 for the Eagles.
Sunlake’s Nicolai Atkinson and Citrus’ Dylan Nelson tied with 79s to qualify as individuals. Gulf senior Shayne Grubb was one stroke behind at 80 to grab the final qualifying bid.
2A-2 at Golf Club of Fleming Island, 10 Monday
Moving on: Land O’Lakes, Springstead, Wiregrass Ranch, Sunlake’s Nicolai Atkinson, Gulf’s Shayne Grubb
2A-4 at Fox Hollow, 8:30 Monday
Moving on: River Ridge’s Chris Dodson, Mitchell’s Isaac Schaefer
A-3 at Juliette Falls CC in Dunnellon, 9 Monday
Moving on: Bishop McLaughlin, Fivay, Hernando, Saddlebrook, Wesley Chapel, ATTL’s Michael Davidson, Pasco’s Austin Riddaugh