By Kyle LoJacono
The Steinbrenner girls golf team did not have the lowest round on Oct. 17 for the first time this year but still left the Class 2A-District 10 tournament as runner-up to extend its year.
The Warriors, who completed a 10-0 regular season the week before, shot a 328 at the event, five strokes off Plant City’s pace.
“I was very proud of them,” said Steinbrenner coach Mark Mann. “A few of the girls were a little bit upset with their scores, but overall with the windy conditions it was a good day.”
The Warriors were led by senior Sara Bair’s 76, which tied her for the third lowest round at the event.
“Sara was focused yesterday. Whenever I spoke with her about how she was doing she’d say ‘Oh, I’m not sure.’ Usually when she says that, she’s shooting well, but she’s superstitious and doesn’t want to talk about it until the end. I got the feeling she was doing well.”
Bair said she never adds up her score before finishing a round.
“I thought I was doing well, but I’m never sure until I get to the end and add it up,” Bair said. “It was nice to not have to count for too long because I knew it meant we had a good chance of advancing with a low score.”
Fellow Steinbrenner senior Michelle Stein carded an 82, while Claire Becker, a freshman, shot an 81.
“Claire is a tremendous player,” Mann said. “At the beginning of the year she might have been a little nervous just being new to high school golf. She’s played in other tournaments, but in high school you’re part of a team. She’s proved all year that she is talented, as have all of these kids.”
Steinbrenner won a district title last season, but lost its No. 1 golfer Alex Milan to graduation. Milan, who was named the All-Laker/All-Lutz News Girls Golfer of the Year in 2010, is now playing at Florida State University on a scholarship.
Freedom also advanced by finishing in third with a 355. Wharton shot a 359 at the event to finish sixth, but only the top-three teams in each district advance to regionals.
Steinbrenner and Freedom both played in regionals at Walden Lake Golf and Country Club in Plant City on Oct. 25, but results were not available by press time.
Stanger takes district title
Gaither’s Jimmy Stanger shot a 3-under 69 on Oct. 17 to finish as the boys golf Class 2A-District 9 individual champion.
Stanger said he felt very poorly about the way he was hitting the ball on the range before the event. The junior turned his game around early to win the tournament by five strokes.
“Really I was hitting the ball about as badly as I have all year in warm-ups,” Stanger said. “That doesn’t always mean I’m going to have a bad round, so I just wanted to get on the course as fast as I could. Sometimes that works, and it did this time.”
Stanger said he has been working on his accuracy all season, and it showed at districts. He hit 14-of-18 greens in regulation and posted five birdies.
The district crown is Stanger’s first. The victory also purged some bad memories from the event last year when he finished in a three-way tie for the lead after regulation but was eliminated after the first playoff hole.
Cowboy junior Clyde Meadows recorded an 81 to finish tied for 10th.
Gaither’s 331 gave it the runner-up spot behind King’s 329, the second year the two squads have finished Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, in the event. The top-three teams from each district tournament advance to regionals.
The Cowboys played in regionals at Stoneybrook West Golf Club in Winter Garden on Oct. 24, but results were not available by press time.
Jones claims district crown
Freedom sophomore Jimmy Jones won the individual district championship by three strokes at the boys golf Class 2A-District 10 tournament on Oct. 17.
Jones carded an even-par 71 in the event, helping the Patriots finish as the district runner-up eight strokes off Newsome’s championship pace.
Both teams, along with Steinbrenner, advance to regionals by finishing in the top three at the event. The Warriors recorded a 319 thanks to Nik Kalolo’s 77 and Trevor Joseph’s 80.
Wharton, which won a district title last year, finished in fifth place, but Wildcats’ No. 1 golfer Jorge Junquera shot a 76 to qualify individually for regionals.
Junquera and the Freedom and Steinbrenner teams played in regionals at Wentworth Golf Club in Tarpon Springs on Oct. 24, but results were not available by press time.
Two Cowboys make regionals
Gaither girls golfers Morgan Litchfield and Caitlin Milne qualified individually for regionals with their performances at the Class 2A-District 9 tournament on Oct. 17. Litchfield carded a 91 to finish in sixth place, while Milne recorded a 112 to take 10th. Both played in regionals at Windermere Country Club in Orlando on Oct. 24, but results were not available by press time.