OCALA — The birdies were out in profusion Wednesday at the 40-year-old Silver Springs Shores course, just waiting to be snagged by the collection of elite boys golfers at the Class 2A state tournament.
But on a day rife with sub-70 rounds, no local player outside St. Petersburg junior M.J. Maguire could get his game together. By day's end, explanations were few. Excuses were fewer.
"Just bad golf," said Palm Harbor University senior Matt Cote, who double-bogeyed his first hole and tripled his third en route to 5-over-par 77.
Indeed, a promising Tuesday was followed by a forgettable Wednesday for PHU and East Lake. Fifth and eighth, respectively, after 18 holes, the Hurricanes and Eagles struggled to 11th- and 16th-place team finishes in the two-day, 16-team event.
The only redeeming Day 2 round for Pinellas County: Maguire's 5-under 67 in strong winds, good enough to finish tied for 17th individually. Subtract a disastrous first three holes Tuesday, and Maguire shot 6 under for the event.
No other county golfer shot better than 77 Wednesday.
"(The wind) was tough, but the other schools did pretty well," said East Lake coach Terry O'Reilly, whose squad finished with a two-day total of 627. "We were as prepared as we could be. …We have nothing to hang our heads over."
To the contrary, the Eagles can proclaim consecutive region titles and a solid first day at state that featured Linzy Clark, whose two-day 147 tied him for 20th, vying for the individual lead.
Similarly, PHU exited with a nice consolation gift. The Hurricanes and Eagles previously had met at six tournament events this season, with each team finishing ahead of the other three times. With the state tourney representing the rubber match, the Hurricanes (614) earned an offseason's worth of bragging rights.
Lake Mary, behind individual champ Han Kim, won the team title with a two-day total of 583. Kim followed his opening-day 70 with 7-under 65.
OCALA — St. Petersburg sophomore Shane Crutchfield finished in a tie for 20th at Ocala Golf Club after shooting 76-78—154. Weston Cypress Bay sophomore Juliana Herrera took top medalist honors with 70-69—139. Dunedin junior Justine Knox finished 24th (79-79—158).
Izzy Gould, Times staff writer