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LUTZ — Senioritis lasted all of 15 strokes for Jimmy Stanger.
Saddled with a 1-over-par scorecard after four holes in Tuesday’s four-team season-opening meet, the Gaither senior transitioned from mediocre to medalist during a blistering five-hole span on a surprisingly dry Cheval course.
A University of Virginia commitment, Stanger went 4 under on his final five holes — starting with eagle on the 475-yard, par-5 No. 7 — to finish with 3-under 33.
Had it not been for a couple of groan-inducing missed putts, he might have flirted with 30.
“I was happy with how I scrambled,” said Stanger, the reigning Class 2A, District 9 champ. “I had some good putts today that just didn’t fall. But again, 3 under par, I’m very happy.”
On a course that played fast despite the rainfall of recent weeks, Stanger was the only golfer to eclipse par.
Jesuit freshman Matt Ruel, medalist at Saturday’s East Lake Invitational on his home course in Pinellas County, shot double bogey on his final hole — including a missed putt of roughly a foot — to finish with even 36. King’s Sam Kloppenburg also shot even par.
The Tigers, who won the East Lake tourney, shot a four-player total 150 to win Tuesday’s event. Four Tigers broke 40, with senior Lucas Trim hitting 37 and senior Evan Stilley adding 38. King was second (160) followed by Gaither (183) and Chamberlain (212).
Diminutive sophomore Ajani Liggins added 37 for King.
Following his eagle on No. 7, Stanger watched a 30-foot birdie putt on the par-3 No. 8 lip out. On the 527-yard, par-5 ninth, his eagle putt hit a bump before lipping out.
“Honestly, my putting felt very, very solid,” he said. “I’m probably most proud of coming back after missing the short birdie putt and the eagle putt and then making birdie (on No. 1).”