TARPON SPRINGS — One by one, as players walked off the green after their final hole at the East Lake Invitational, a look of disgust showed, the result of what many termed the worst round of their careers.
The diabolical pin placements at Cypress Run Golf Club left many of the bay area's best golfers scratching their heads.
Jesuit, however, had no such problems. The Tigers, who were nowhere near contention at last year's event, were the only team to have all four of its top golfers shoot in the 70s, winning the 2010 edition of the invitational by an 11-stroke margin.
"Last year, we were all freshmen and sophomores, and we have all the same kids and finished 10th last year," Tigers coach George LaPenna said. "I don't even know what our score was last year we were so high. … The kids have been committed and playing in the summer, and they've improved."
Jesuit was led by Chet Ghioto, a sophomore who played football instead of golf last year. He shot 2-over 74, one stroke off the individual lead. Anthony Maccaglia and Brian Lanoue each carded 78, and Matt Loleng shot 79 to produce a 309 team score.
"I told them before the tournament, I said, 'I want you guys to wait around to congratulate the winner,' because I knew we wouldn't win. But I wanted the sportsmanship to be there," LaPenna said, his voice choking up. "It never occurred to me that we would win. It's a competitive field."
Gaither's Jimmy Stanger recorded one birdie and two bogeys during his round to win the individual award with a 1-over 73 on a day where nobody was able to break par. Stanger won by making putts that left others confused and frustrated.
"I think my final eight holes I had putts ranging from 3 feet to 10 feet and made every single one," said Stanger, a sophomore.
West Orange, led by John Ortiz's 78, placed second with a team score of 320. Palm Harbor University was another stroke back in third at 321. Tournament host East Lake carded 327 to take fourth.
Wiregrass Ranch's Dylan Larsen won a tiebreaker based on a match of scorecards on the lowest handicap hole against Palm Harbor University's Dustin Dingus and Calvary Christian's Taylor Hancock to claim third individually after each fired 3-over 75.