CLEARWATER — An unforgiving wind blew shots into bunkers and water hazards, anywhere, it turns out, but straight.
The temperatures dipped in the 30s, necessitating something rarely seen on a golf course in Florida: winter coats and gloves.
Conversely, the Calvary Christian boys watched their scores soar at the 2008 state tournament.
The Warriors entered state with eyes on a top-five finish. With a little luck, they felt the Class A title was within reach.
A substandard round in brutally challenging conditions, however, left Calvary out of contention after the first day, even with Lee McCoy shooting a second-round 70, which tied for the best round at the two-day tournament.
Calvary finished in a 10th-place tie out of 16 teams.
But that was a year ago, and the Warriors have all the components in place to contend again.
"I'm not too worried about what we did last year. It's over," said McCoy, a sophomore. "It's not going to really make any difference this year. I'm just going to go out there and hit the ball."
McCoy excelled during the offseason on the junior circuit. He fired 72-71 at a U.S. Amateur qualifier at the University of Georgia, then followed with 73-75 at the U.S. Junior Amateur in New Jersey to place 23rd.
McCoy has grown 4 inches, giving him more power off the tee. And his short game remains unparalleled.
"He's one of the best putters I've ever seen," Calvary Christian coach Mike Baskovich said.
Aaron Watson's nine-hole average through the first half of the season was below par, but a shoulder injury midway through the year kept him from continuing that form. Now a senior, Watson enters the 2009 season 100 percent healthy.
Taylor Hancock, a junior, had Calvary's best score (73) at regionals and tied for the best round with McCoy at districts (74). He gives Calvary three bona fide superstars.
"Our goal is to win states, it really is," Baskovich said. "I think we've got the team to do it. It's just putting it together.
"But if we have an off day, we can fall on our face."
Golfers to watch
• Linzy Clark, Sr., East Lake: 71 at regionals last year earned him medalist honors and his team the region championship.
• Matt Cote, Sr., Palm Harbor University: Qualified for state after a breakout season in 2008.
• Derek Hernandez, Sr., St. Petersburg Catholic: Tied the record (65) at Seminole Lakes Country Club, according to coach Tim Moore.
• Travis Huston, Jr., Dunedin: The Times' 2008 Player of the Year transferred to Calvary Christian for the second half of the 2008-09 school year but is back at Dunedin.
• Westin Jensen, Sr., Dunedin: Consistent player has added more distance to his game.
• M.J. Maguire, Jr., St. Petersburg: Shot 75-73 for Ponte Vedra Nease at the Class 2A tournament to finish tied for 10th.
• Jack Maguire, Fr., St. Petersburg: Shorecrest transfer tied for fifth at state (Class A) and was region medalist in 2008.
• Ryan Mosley, So., Northeast: Won the Junior Club Championship at the Vinoy Golf Club in April.
• Bobby Musselman, Sr., St. Petersburg: Two-time region qualifier was district medalist a year ago.
• Gus Myers, Sr., Northside Christian: Had maybe the best offseason of any county player.
• Matt Olsen, Sr., Seminole: A grinder who was second at districts as a junior.
• Terry O'Reilly, Sr., East Lake: Looking to bounce back after an injury-plagued junior season.
• Jimmy Weck, Sr., St. Petersburg Catholic: His 80-78 at Class A tournament helped Barons finish ninth.
Sept. 5: East Lake Invitational at Wentworth Country Club
Sept. 10: Mustang Invitational at Seminole Lakes Country Club
Sept. 21: Crutchfield/Hawkins Tournament in Sebring
Oct. 3: CCC Invitational at Cove Cay Country Club
Oct. 5: Green Devil Invitational at Vinoy Country Club