Ryan Gendron arrived Tuesday afternoon at Cheval with three distinct accessories: a red band on his right wrist, a euro coin in his pocket (his ball marker) and a clutch approach shot up his sleeve.
Using a 52-degree wedge, the 5-foot-7 Plant junior sent his 110-yard approach shot to within 4 feet of the cup on the par-5 No. 1 hole, clinching birdie and the only subpar round of the nine-hole tri-match among the Panthers, Jesuit and Gaither.
"Once I (hit par on) the first five holes, I knew it was going to be a good day," said Gendron, who started on No. 2 and actually was 1 under through five.
What was projected as an intense duel between the Panthers and Jesuit materialized on a bright afternoon short of humidity and devoid of wind.
Gendron's 1-under 35 on the front nine highlighted Plant's four-player total of 150, three shots ahead of the host Tigers and 22 ahead of Gaither. Plant senior Zach Johnson (pictured) added 37, capped by an 11-yard putt to save par on his final hole.
Jesuit was led by senior JC Cirella, whose even-par 36 included bogey on No. 1, birdie on No. 9 and seven pars in between. On the par-5 No. 9, Cirella hit his 9-iron approach shot 140 yards out of wood chips to within 6 feet of the cup for birdie.
Gaither junior Jimmy Stanger, the reigning Florida State Golf Association Boys Junior Championship runnerup for ages 16-18, led the Cowboys with 38.