DUNEDIN — Maybe being tagged as a pre-tourney favorite caused some early jitters.
Perhaps playing on his home course added to the pressure.
Or it could have been the unusually steady breeze and unforgiving greens.
Whatever the reason, Dunedin's Justin Foster struggled early at the Class 2A, District 12 tournament. After bogeying four of his first six holes, Foster nearly played himself out of contention before reaching the back nine at Dunedin Country Club.
Foster, however, rebounded nicely. The senior made birdie on No. 7 and eagled the par-5 No. 15 to finish even-par 72 and earn his first district tournament championship in his final attempt.
"It feels good to finally get it done," he said.
Foster's 72, Travis Huston's 1-over 73 and Mark Bernard's 4-over 76 paced Dunedin as the Falcons cruised to their second straight district title with 302, 17 strokes better than East Lake. But for Foster, the afternoon was almost a lost cause.
"I was playing so bad early," Foster said. "But then I birdied the par-5 No. 7. I put it on the green in two and two-putted. That just turned everything around. That was my first sign of life."
East Lake advances to next week's regional at Wentworth Golf Club after finishing two strokes ahead of Mitchell (321).
Logan Hand had the Eagles' best round with 77.
Palm Harbor U., which finished in a tie for fourth, failed to qualify, but Matt Cote will move on after posting 3-over 75.
"I hit a real good wedge shot from about 50 yards on No. 10 that landed a foot from the hole," Cote said. "I tapped in for birdie and from there I played pretty steadily."
At the Eagles
Team scores: Berkeley Prep 309 (Blake Morris 72, R.J. Campbell 78, Ren Scott 79, Austin Suarez 80), Jesuit 326 (Jack Twomey 71, Trent Silver 81, Anthony Maccaglia 82, Derek Fields 92), Tampa Prep 343 (Jonathan Wyble 77, Corbin Hayes 88, Charlie Bauman 89, Alex Cardoso 89), Tampa Catholic 352, Oldsmar Christian 383, Carrollwood Day School 413, Cambridge 422, Robinson 439, Spoto 440, Citrus Park Christian N/S
Top 3 individuals (not on top 3 teams): Trent Stoker, Tampa Catholic, 76; Tommy Spitale, Tampa Catholic, 89; Jacob Peters, Oldsmar, 90
Class a, district 14 Oldsmar going solo to regionals
Berkeley Prep took home the A-14 boys title at the Eagles. The Bucs shot 309 to finish 17 shots ahead of runnerup Jesuit. Oldsmar Christian, the only Pinellas County school in the field, wrapped up its season with a fifth-place finish (383). There is a bright spot for Oldsmar though. Jacob Peters (90) finished among the top three individuals whose teams did not advance to regionals, meaning he moves on to the next round.
At Dunedin CC
Team scores: Dunedin 302 (Foster 72, Huston 73, Bernard 76, Jensen 81), East Lake 319 (Hand 77, O'Reilly 80, Dingus 80, Clark 82), Mitchell 321 (Cavender 74, Schaefer 79, Heinz 83, Bash 85), Ridgewood 323, Palm Harbor U. 323, Clearwater 333, Countryside 362, Tarpon Springs 378, River Ridge 379, Gulf 418, Hudson 448
Top 3 (not on top 3 teams): Cote (PHU) 75, J. Padova (Rw) 76, Koos (Rw) 78