DUNEDIN — After an undistinguished start to the season, the Palm Harbor University boys golf team is finally starting to come together on the course.
With the district tournament set for Tuesday and the remainder of the playoffs to follow soon after, the Hurricanes couldn't be peaking at a better time.
Thursday at Dunedin Country Club, the Hurricanes (155) defeated East Lake (157) by two strokes and Dunedin (158) by three to win the Pinellas County Athletic Conference North County championship.
The win culminates an undefeated regular season in the conference and gives the Hurricanes the overall PCAC championship.
"For my team and myself, this match is a big tuneup for districts," PHU senior Matt Cote said. "It's going to tell us where we're at heading in."
The Hurricanes enter the playoff stretch on a roll. A week ago at the Vinoy Invitational, Christian Senger had a breakout performance, firing 4-under 68 to win the individual title and help the Hurricanes to a second-place finish.
Thursday, it was Cote carrying the load. A state qualifier last season, the steady Cote shot par on every hole and birdied the par-5 15th to close his round at 1-under 36. On No. 15, Cote drove a 3-wood off the tee into the right rough. From there, he hit a 4-iron short of the green, chipped within 5 feet, then sank his birdie putt for what proved the difference in the match.
"My swing feels pretty good right now, and I feel really good about my ball striking," Cote said. "I'm looking forward to districts, regionals and hopefully states. I could play a lot better. I haven't yet reached my full potential."
Senger (38) was 1 over while Dustin Dingus fired 39 and Charlie Camisasca shot 42.
Linzy Clark (38) was 1 over to pace East Lake's effort. The Eagles got consistent play from Jake Johnson (39), Terry O'Reilly (40) and Sebastian Hilpl (40) to capture second.
Dunedin's Westin Jensen had an up-and-down day but took second overall after shooting 37. Jensen struggled out of the gate but eagled No. 15 and birdied multiple holes to close out his round at even par.
Tarpon Springs (180), led by Tyler White's 40, took fourth. Countryside (181) was fifth.
Mid-County Championship: On Wednesday, Seminole's Eric Ines fired 1-over 37 to lead the Warhawks to the Mid-County Championship at Bardmoor and win the individual title. Seminole (156) got consistent scoring from Matt Olson (38), Adam Norris (40) and Tyler Zacur (41) to win by 10 strokes. Clearwater, behind Chase Harvey's 3-over 39, took second (166).
South County Championship: At Mangrove Bay, Ryan Mosley led all golfers, shooting 2-over 38 to pace Northeast's championship effort. Austin Stephens (40), Kyle Kubala (41) and Connor Chambers (42) helped the Vikings (161) to a four-stroke victory over second-place St. Petersburg (165).
Bobby Musselman and Sidney Tran each shot 39 for the Green Devils.