They knew the course and the competition were tough, but Bloomingdale never expected what happened to it Tuesday at the Class 6A, District 8 tournament.
The Bulls shot 304, a score that seemed unbeatable until George Jenkins senior Austin Jones shot the round of his life: 7-under-par 65 on the tight, 7,026-yard River Club in Bradenton.
Jones even managed to add an exclamation point to the round, which tied a course record from the back tees, by hitting a wedge to 3 feet on the final hole for a birdie 3.
His last birdie caused a three-shot swing against Bloomingdale's No. 1 player, Takumi Yoshimoto, who finished with a double-bogey 6 for 73.
But more importantly, Jones' final feat led to a one-shot team victory, 303-304 over the Bulls, who for the second straight year missed state by losing the final few holes at districts.
"What (Jones) did was just incredible, incredible golf," Bloomingdale coach Linda Peters said. "We knew to get the win we would have to earn it, but no, we never thought about anybody shooting a score like that."
Said Jones: "I guess this is what is known as being in the zone. . . . I got a birdie on the first hole and then I just tried to not look ahead. To be honest that was the hardest part, not looking ahead."
Jones's heroics overshadowed a couple of courageous rounds from local players, including Plant City's Jimmy Taylor (72) and Bulls' freshman Ryan Bates (73).
4A-9: Jesuit boys tops again
DADE CITY _ Jesuit must have Saddlebrook's number. For the third straight year, the Tigers beat out the Spartans for a state berth.
Paced by district medalist Sean Zaharakes, Jesuit won the district tournament Tuesday at Scotland Yards to advance to the state finals May 6-8 at Bent Tree Country Club in Sarasota. The Tigers won with 297 strokes to Saddlebrook's 309 and Berkeley Prep's 310.
Jesuit coach Ziggy Jasinski feels his squad has a shot at surpassing last year's third-place finish at state. "We're much better," he said. "We've got four guys (Zaharakes, brothers Adam and Brian Swope, and Steve Racine) who can play around par golf. That's what you need."
Make that below par, Ziggy.
Zaharakes, who placed third in last year's district tourney, finished at 2-under 69 to win individual medalist honors. The 5-foot-5, 105-pound sophomore and Berkeley Prep's Ty Harris were 2-under at the turn with Tampa Catholic's Brian Clarke just two strokes back.
That threesome could not have been much closer through 15 holes, but Clarke and Harris each hit the water in front of the 16th and Zaharakes was on in two. Harris settled for 7, Clarke 6 and Zaharakes made 4.
"When I had a three-stroke lead after that, going into 17 a lot of the pressure was off of me," said Zaharakes, who bogeyed the final two holes.
Clarke's 70 placed him second and Saddlebrook's Christian Montmarquette beat out Harris in a one-hole playoff for third.
In Tuesday's girls tourney, Saddlebrook, led by district medalist Jameica Duncombe, won its third district title in as many seasons.
Berkeley Prep's Melissa Aylor (fourth, 89), Wharton's Rebekah Messer (seventh, 92) and Academy of the Holy Names' Sara Tarrant (eighth, 95) finished among the leaders. _ STEVE LEE