For the better part of 18 gusty holes Tuesday, a handful of local golfers seemingly were dueling with the Tavares thermometer to see which could post a lower number.
By the end of the round, the mercury won out — but not by much.
On a Deer Island course where water comes into play nearly every hole, Plant senior Brad White shot even-par 72 to join Jacksonville Sandalwood sophomore Travis Trace atop the leaderboard at the Class 2A boys state tournament.
Gaither home-schooled senior Jimmy Stanger, winner of the District 9 and Region 3 tournaments, was two shots back despite a tee-off time of 46 degrees and what he called “ridiculous winds.”
“The course was playing extremely difficult,” Plant coach Mike Stevens said. “We probably had 25-30 mph wind and it was pretty cold, so everyone was having trouble hitting greens in regulation.”
When White hit them, his putter came through.
He birdied Nos. 6, 7 and 8 (after starting on No. 10) to go 1 under before settling for bogey on the 411-yard par-4, which he played directly into the wind.
“When he was hitting the green, he was making the putts,” Stevens said.
White’s round highlighted the Hillsborough County showing at the 36-hole state tournaments, comprising two classifications and four different central Florida courses.
Newsome, led by Tyler Bakich’s 79, finished the day sixth in the 2A boys team standings (320), 11 shots behind leader Lakewood Ranch.
Plant, behind White and senior Ryan Gendron’s 77, was in 11th (326).
Class 2A girls: At nearby Lady Lake, Freedom sophomore Terese Romeo was tied for 13th with 7-over 79. Steinbrenner, the Region 4 team champion, struggled to a 14th-place effort (371), with no Warriors player eclipsing 80.
Class A boys: Tampa Catholic — making the program’s first state appearance as a team — had three players shoot 84 at Howey-in-the-Hills’ Mission Inn resort en route to a 12th-place showing (337) after the first day.
Class A girls: On a separate Mission Inn course, Academy of the Holy Names junior Emmy Martin’s 79 led the Jaguars to a 10th-place team finish after 18 holes. Martin enters today’s round tied for 17th, 10 shots off the leader, Lake Mary Prep freshman Sierra Brooks.
Joey Knight can be reached at email@example.com.