NEW PORT RICHEY — In the five-year history of Wiregrass Ranch golf, the Bulls’ boys team has already established itself as one of the county powers.
After winning just one match in their inaugural season and finishing below .500 in the second, the Bulls have lost just one regular-season match each of the past three years.
Monday, Wiregrass Ranch solidified its place among the Pasco hierarchy, winning its second straight Sunshine Athletic Conference title after claiming first place at the regular-season-ending SAC tournament.
Wiregrass Ranch finished with a team score of 314 at Seven Springs Golf and Country Club, 10 strokes ahead of Wesley Chapel (324) and 22 better than third-place Mitchell (336). With the 26 points the Bulls won for first place in the tournament coupled with the 11 points they earned for 11 regular-season conference victories, the Bulls won the overall SAC season championship.
Wesley Chapel and Mitchell tied for second overall in the SAC championship race with 33 points. Land O’Lakes was fourth at 20 points.
“Next year, it’s going to be really hard to come close to the level that we’re at now,” Wiregrass Ranch coach Nick Cuviello said. “I have three seniors in the top five. But back-to-back is tough enough to do, so I’m thrilled with that.”
One of those seniors, Dylan Larson, shot even-par 72 and finished in a tie for second place individually, one stroke back of the leader. Larson had three birdies, three bogeys and shot 36 on both the front and the back nine.
"I drove well and hit my irons well,” Larson said. “I didn’t really have any putts fall, though. I couldn’t read the speed of the greens. I was just blowing them by.”
Logan Horrigan fired 3-over 75 for Wiregrass Ranch. Seniors Chris Kluender (81) and Nick Stutt (86) also posted solid rounds for the Bulls.
“My (Nos.) 3 and 4 guys have really stepped up,” Cuviello said. “Last year Nick shot 80 and Chris shot 85, and this year they basically switched places. That’s what won the tournament for us.”
Wesley Chapel’s Jacob Fleck was the only golfer to break par and was the individual champion. Fleck, a senior, shot 1-under 71. He was up-and-down over his first nine holes, recording two birdies and three bogeys but settled down to finish the final nine 2 under.
“My putter was cold on the first nine. I couldn’t make anything,” Fleck said. “I kept the ball in play though, so I stayed away from making big numbers. That helped a lot.”
Fleck was one back of Larson at the turn but birdied both par 5s over the final nine holes to storm back.
“I was able to get a couple putts to fall on the back nine,” Fleck said.
Brandon Mumaw added even-par 72 for Wesley Chapel and tied for second individually. Dylan Strout (74) was the leading golfer for third-place Mitchell. Jon Kopsell fired 3-over 75 for Land O’Lakes.