TARPON SPRINGS — After graduating four of its top five starters from last season's region runnerup squad, the East Lake boys golf team hoped to use Monday's third annual East Lake Invitational at Wentworth Golf Club as a gauge to see whether the 2008 season would be one of rebuilding or reloading.
While the early results were encouraging, they were also incomplete. A thunderstorm left the course unplayable, forcing officials to use players' scores through nine holes to determine a winner. East Lake tied with Lake Brantley (Altamonte Springs) for first at 14-over par, the second straight year the host Eagles have come in first.
"Conditions were pretty bad, even before the rain came," said East Lake's Logan Hand, who finished 6 over. "When you have to lift and replace from the rough, that's when you know it's not a good day to play."
An already soaked course that had received 2 inches of rain the night before became water-logged when the skies opened up after players had finished anywhere from 10 to 12 holes. Two greens were under standing water.
"I wish we could have finished," Hand said. "It drives me nuts."
East Lake, which fielded a team of one senior, four juniors and a freshman, was led by Terry O'Reilly Jr., who finished 2 over. O'Reilly made seven straight pars before bogeying his final two holes. Lincoln Dunham, the Eagles' lone senior, came in at 3 over.
"They came in as prepared as I thought they should be," East Lake coach Terry O'Reilly Sr. said. "We did pretty well. This was the strongest field this tournament's ever had."
East Lake and Lake Brantley will play a rematch of sorts Saturday at the Lake Brantley Invitational at Wekiva Golf Club in Longwood.
"It'll be a tournament like this, but we'll consider it a rematch," Hand said.
Lake Mary Prep's Jason Hak was 2 under to capture the tournament's lowest-round honors. Lake Mary Prep finished fourth, two shots behind Bartow and three behind East Lake and Lake Brantley.
Jesuit recorded low rounds of 1 over by Jack Twomey and 3 over by Trent Silver to finish fifth (plus-18). Mitchell was sixth (plus-19) and St. Petersburg Catholic tied for seventh (plus-20).
Individually, Mitchell's Kenny Cavender tied with Twomey and Lake Brantley's Alec Berry for third at 1 over. O'Reilly, Northside Christian's David Dresselhaus and St. Petersburg Catholic's Jimmy Weck tied for sixth at 2 over.