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EXPERIENCE GIVES MUSTANGS AN EDGE

Rain soaked scorecards told the story Tuesday in smeared pencil lead.

Pasco County's battle for boys golf supremacy lasted nine holes at Crescent Oaks Country Club.

There were periods of heavy rain, demanding greens and a strong wind on the third hole.

Wiregrass Ranch's strategy was to pair experienced players with those who had never played the course. Mitchell, the host, went with seniors on down.

Ultimately, Mitchell's depth proved to be the difference with a 157-166 victory.

"For the last three years we've either won the regular season or the conference tournament," Mitchell coach Rick Hyatt said. "We have never been able to put it together. Our goal this year is to win both. It's going to be a tough road."

The Mustangs remained undefeated at 5-0 while Wiregrass Ranch fell to 4-1. Mitchell has another tough match this week against Ridgewood, which lost earlier this season to the Bulls.

A win Thursday at home against the Rams would put the Mustangs in control of the Sunshine Athletic Conference title race. A loss could turn the conference chase into a neck-and-neck-and-neck race.

Three of four Mitchell golfers shot under 40 including No.6 Dylan Strout, who shot 3-over 39. The Mustangs were led by No. 2 Austin Richardson, whose 2-over 38 was Mitchell's top score of the day. Other Mitchell scorers included Chaz Heinz (39) and Dominick Dithmer (41).

"I'm very pleased with the scores in the 30s," Hyatt said. "The way the conditions were anything around 40 would have been a good score. I'm very pleased with how the guys played and how they hung in there. ... My last group had an 80 between them. I think that was the big difference."

Wiregrass Ranch had its best performance from Logan Horrigan at No. 3, who shot 1-over 37. But no other Bull could break 40 with Dylan Larson (40), Nick Stutt (44) and Chris Kluender (45) scoring for Wiregrass Ranch.

"Home-course advantage was big," Bulls coach Nick Cuviello said. "We didn't putt very well and the conditions were very tough. ... It was a tough day."

Izzy Gould can be reached at igould@sptimes.com or (813) 421-3886.

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