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Region golf preview

Class 2A, Region 4
Wentworth Golf Club, Tarpon Springs, Monday, 9:30 a.m. Local teams: Mitchell

Local individuals: Jeff Koos, Ridgewood; Jordan Padova, Ridgewood

Heritage Isles Country Club Monday, 9 a.m. Local teams competing: Mitchell

Individual qualifiers: Bailey Logan, Gulf

Class 2A, Region 2
Eagle Landing at Oak Leaf Plantation, Middleburg, Monday, 10:30 a.m. Local teams: Springstead, Central

Local individuals: Josh Barnett, Land O'Lakes

Class A, Region 3
Gainesville Golf & Country Club, Monday, 9 a.m. Local teams: Wiregrass Ranch

Local individuals: Kentaro Toyota, Bishop McLaughlin; Anthony Rule, Nature Coast; Alex Bensahel, Saddlebrook

Mark Bostic Golf Course at UF in Gainesville, Monday, 9 a.m. Local team competing: Zephyrhills

Individual qualifiers: Ankita Tiwana, Saddlebrook; Lauren Shuford, Hernando; Lauren Riehle, Saddlebrook

The stakes

The top two teams and two lowest-scoring individuals who aren't members of those teams advance to state. The individuals must be within five strokes of the lowest-scoring individual to advance, according to the Florida High School Athletic Association golf manual.

The state contenders

Mitchell's girls have not been to state as a team since 2004 when they finished tied for 10th. The Mustangs seemed primed for a trip to state after winning the Sunshine Athletic Conference title and Class 2A, District 12 title in back-to-back weeks at the same course. Mitchell coach Joe Castellano believed he would host the region tournament, but the FHSAA never received his request. So moments after winning the district title, the Mustangs coach had to let his team in on the bad news. How they respond is anyone's guess.

But Mitchell has arguably the best 1-2 combination in sisters Megan and Rebecca Van Etten, who both fired sub-70 rounds at conference and district play with Megan shooting 7-under 63 two weeks ago.

The surprises

Wiregrass Ranch's boys team, a third-year program led by a freshman (Logan Horrigan) and sophomore (Dylan Larson), was 1-9 in SAC play only two seasons ago. The Bulls survived high winds and a hilly course Tuesday to place second at the Class A, District 9 tournament, with Horrigan (1-over 73) winning the individual title.

Nonetheless, they're trumped on the surprise scale by 2A-6 champ Springstead. The Eagles, not much of a factor in Hernando County in recent years, won the county tournament nine days ago, then got sub-80 scores from senior Kevin Hubbard and sophomore Shane Murphy to win the district title by 13 strokes.

The sleepers

Land O'Lakes senior Josh Barnett hasn't played his best golf down the stretch — he shot 76 at the SAC tournament and 79 at the District 6 meet — but is capable of qualifying for state if he catches fire.

Zephyrhills has an all-around solid girls team, which finished second in the A-9 tournament with a score of 444. But qualifying for state would take the Bulldogs' best effort of the season.

Region golf preview 10/17/08 [Last modified: Friday, October 17, 2008 5:49pm]
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