Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Golf: Harris makes history for Sunlake; Mitchell girls keep SAC streak alive

LAND O'LAKES — The top two golfers in the Sunshine Athletic Conference tournament teed off together Tuesday at Plantation Palms and came within two strokes of matching scores.

Sunlake's Kelly Harris, conference runnerup last season, won individual medalist honors with 85. Mitchell's Shyanne Dove was two strokes behind but settled for her team extending an SAC record with its 13th consecutive title.

"I'm a good sport," said Harris, the first SAC medalist in Sunlake's seven seasons. "I'll root (Dove) on, but I'll still focus on my game. I'm only a sophomore, so this is pretty awesome."

Mitchell coach Tom Stratman figures Dove and Harris will be competing for titles for years to come.

"They're both sophomores and they both have two years of high school golf left," he said. "I hope there is a competitive nature with them. It will just make them better."

No team was better than Mitchell, which finished 78 strokes ahead of runnerup Land O'Lakes, 356-434. Zephyrhills, last year's runnerup, rounded out the top three at 447.

The Mustangs were so dominant that they placed four golfers on the SAC first team and one on the second. Aside from Dove, the first-teamers were Ashley Richardson (88), Mackenzie Bennett (90) and Michela MacDougal (91). Lindsey Ritchey (93) made the second team.

That drive to be the best on the team, Stratman noted, is what keeps the titles coming for Mitchell.

"They're aware of our tradition," the coach said. "I think it really motivates our girls. I think it gives them something to strive for and keep their name up there."

The Mustangs have two remaining goals — win the district (they were runnerup last year) and qualify for states as a team for the first time since 2009. The Class 2A, District 14 tourney is Monday at Seven Springs.

Scores were higher than most players and coaches would have liked, but some were able to put it in perspective considering the par-72, 5,300-yard course and Monday's heavy rain.

"For the conditions and length of this course, I'm very happy with our scores," Stratman said.