EAST LAKE — Area schools were shut out of the top three spots at the Outback Invitational at East Lake Woodlands on Monday, but Clearwater Central Catholic’s Andrew Heric and Gaither’s Jimmy Stanger tied as top medalists, both shooting 2-under 70 on the South Course.
A one-hole playoff ended with both parring the par-5 18th hole. Darkness did not allow for a second playoff hole.
"I’m very proud of how I pushed through it," Stanger said. "I finished with two birdies on the final two holes. That was a wonderful confidence booster. I had a lot of lip-outs. My iron shots were right on the flag. I was just a little bit off from hitting great shots."
Heric had his best round of the season and beat teammate Ryan Orr by one shot.
"I was fairly consistent," Heric said. "I had only one bogey and that was on the first hole. I wasn’t hitting shots too close but I was hitting greens in regulation and two-putting."
Windermere Prep won the team championship, shooting 292. Tom Colanta and Barry Babbitt, each shot 1-under 71 for Windermere. Brock Drogosch chipped in with 72.
West Orange was second at 296 and Lakewood Ranch third with 297. Clearwater Central Catholic missed a top-three finish by one stroke. Aside from Heric and Orr, CCC’s Martin Fennemore shot 75 and Connor O’Shaughnessy 82.
Jesuit, which won the East Lake Invitational a few weeks, finished fifth at 309. Matt Ruel shot 74, Evan Stilley and Joseph Trim shot 80 and Chet Ghioto 82.
Host Mitchell, the only Pasco school in the tournament, finished ninth at 319. Donnie Gabrelcik (75) led the Mustangs.
In the playoff, both players drove down the fairway but ran into trouble on their second shots. Stanger’s drive landed in a divot and his approach landed short of the green.
Heric pulled his second shot left and chipped to about 30 feet. Stanger chipped to about 10 feet, but his ball landed on a patch of sand.
"I thought about chipping it," Stanger said. "But the putt lipped out anyway. It was that kind of round."
Heric’s lag putt was to about 6 feet. Both players made their pars in near darkness.
Other notable rounds by local players include 71s by St. Petersburg Catholic’s NJ Fiske and Calvary Christian’s Zach Wood.