EAST LAKE — For the third consecutive year, Jesuit won the season opening East Lake Invitational, and did so in impressive fashion.
Paced by freshman Matthew Ruel, who lives in East Lake Woodlands and was playing in his first high school tournament, the Tigers shot 287 to defeat Clearwater Central Catholic and West Orange by 11 shots.
Ruel shot 3-under 68 Saturday on East Lake Woodland’s South Course to win individual honors. Kyler Tate of West Orange was second with 70. Teammate William Wrigley, along with CCC’s Ryan Orr and Andrew Heric, each shot even-par 71.
“I usually don’t play well out here in tournaments, I don’t know what it is,” Ruel said. “But today I was hitting greens and making putts. It’s all about getting it into the hole.”
Aside from Ruel’s 68, Chet Ghioto, Lucas Trim and Joseph Trim each shot 73 for Jesuit.
“Before the tournament started I thought we’d finish around fifth,” Jesuit coach George LaPenna said. “We didn’t do well in a practice round. We didn’t even count Matt’s score. But today he sure did put it together.”
The Marauders counted four scores in the 70s to take second place in the 16-team tournament. They won a scorecard tiebreaker over West Orange. Aside from Orr and Heric, Connor O’Shaughnessy shot 77 and Martin Fennemore chipped in with 79.
“Not bad for the first tournament of the year,” CCC coach Tony Pasquine said. “There’s some good teams here.”
Host East Lake finished fourth with 299. Sebastian Hilpl led the Eagles with 73. Tyler Dierwechter and Parker Fox shot 74s and Nick Corniellie shot 79.
Calvary Christian rounded out the top five with 307. Ben Murray shot 75, Zack Wood had 76, Harrison McClimans shot 77 and Josh Hancock shot 79.
Mitchell finished eighth with a team score of 319.
For Ruel, the bar is clearly set high after winning his first high school tournament. He said he had a good summer, winning four tournaments, including the U.S. Kids Teen World Championships in the 14-year-old category in Pinehurst, N.C.
He said it helped playing on his home course.
“This was my first high school tournament so of course I was nervous,” Ruel said. “So playing on a course I know so well made things a little easier.”
East Lake Invitational at East Lake Woodlands
1. Jesuit 287, 2. Clearwater Central Catholic 298, 3. West Orange 298, 4. East Lake 299, 5. Calvary Christian 307, 6. Tampa Catholic 312, 7. Seminole 315, 8. Mitchell 319, 9. Shorecrest 324, 10. King 329, 11. Berkeley Prep 340, 12. Sebring 342, 13. Northside Christian 346, 14. East Lake B team 354, 15. Osceola 374, 16. Clearwater 378