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The opening round for Fivay’s Austin Padova at the Class A state golf tournament got off to a less-than-desirable start after he double bogeyed the second hole and bogeyed the fourth.
The day quickly improved for the Falcons junior, however.
Padova shot 2 under over his final nine holes at the Country Club at Silver Springs Shores in Ocala and finished his round at 1-under-par 71 to remain in contention for an individual state title.
Padova was three strokes off the lead and tied with four others in sixth place. Bolles’ A.J. Crouch was the leader at the tournament’s midpoint after firing 4-under 68.
“(Padova) had a lot of scrambles but picked up pars in a lot of spots,” Fivay coach Eric Kruck said.
Padova shot 1-over through nine holes but made his run after the turn. He eagled the par-5, No. 4 (Padova’s 13th hole) to get to 2 under for the round. Bogey on No. 8 (Padova’s 17th hole) brought him back to one-under.
With 18 holes left to play today, Padova has a shot at becoming the first North Suncoast golfer to win an individual state title since Wesley Chapel’s Cameron Knight in 2004.
And his coach feels there’s room for improvement even with Padova shooting under par on Monday.
“It was kind of unlike him, his drive was off a little bit,” Kruck said. “He got in trouble but got himself out quite a few times.”
For golfers not named Padova, though, the first day of the state tournament was a struggle.
Playing the same course, Wesley Chapel shot 327 as a team and was in 14th place, 46 strokes behind tournament leader Cardinal Newman.
Jacob Fleck had the Wildcats’ best round after shooting 4-over 76. Brandon Mumaw (81), Noah Fleck (82) and Matt Wynne (88) each shot in the 80s for Wesley Chapel.
Saddlebrook, paced by Adam Chowdhari’s 7-over 79, was in last place out of 16 teams following the opening round. The Spartans were 67 strokes behind Cardinal Newman with a team score of 348. Alex Bensahel fired 89 and Jordi Torrent and Justin Bell each posted 90 for Saddlebrook.
Class 2A girls
Springstead sophomore Megan Berube came into the clubhouse at the Golden Hills Golf and Turf Club in Ocala 11-over 83 after the first round and was tied for 25th overall.
Class A girls
Lauren Riehle of Saddlebrook fired 8-over 80 and was tied for 33rd at Ocala Golf Club.