Blustery temperatures and 35-mph wind gusts shot scores soaring for North Suncoast competitors and the rest of the field Tuesday in the first round of the state tournaments.
None of the North Suncoast’s golfers finished the first of two days on the top 16 of the leaderboard.
Saddlebrook Prep had the day’s strongest showing, ending the first round in fifth place (322) at the Class A finals at Mission Inn Resort and Club in Howey-in-the-Hills. Saddlebrook was one shot behind Naples Community School (fourth) and 18 strokes behind the leader, Plantation American Heritage.
Sophomore Joe He and freshman Ryoto Furuya had the top rounds for the district and region champions. They finished tied for 17th with 7-over 79s. Won Jun Lee carded 81 for Saddlebrook, followed by Tom Ng (83) and Cameron Mather (96).
Pasco County’s other Class A boy, Fivay senior Nick Piro, finished 28-over 100 to tie for 91st.
Class A girls: In the brief existence of Fivay’s girls golf team, the Falcons had never faced a course as long as Mission Inn, nor had they experienced many days with conditions this rough.
“It’s the toughest golf course they’ve played,” coach Josh Peterson said.
Peterson’s Falcons combined for a 448 to end the first round 16th in the 16-team field— 18 shots behind Tallahassee Maclay and 143 strokes behind No. 1 Plantation American Heritage.
Junior Amber Mariano had Fivay’s top round, 27-over 99 for a tie for 76th. Taylor Rhoades (112), Ashlyn Arrington (117), Lauren Mariano (120) and Samantha Dehner (122) also fought through a rough day that Peterson said will teach important lessons in preparation for a team with two juniors, three sophomores and no seniors.
“Hopefully it’s a huge motivation factor to get back here next year,” Peterson said.
Academy at the Lakes senior Mallory Etcheberry was the top Pasco County performer. The Akron commit was tied for 41st with 11-over 83.
Bishop McLaughlin freshman Brooke Dalton battled for 35-over 107 to finish tied for 81st.
Class 2A boys: The North Suncoast’s lone participant, Mitchell senior Dylan Strout, was tied for 59th. He shot a 12-over 84 at Deer Island Country Club in Tavares. Only two competitors, including Plant senior Brad White, finished at par.
Matt Baker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @MattHomeTeam.