By Jordan Kroeger, SunCoast Sports
PUNTA GORDA — Strong winds didn’t give way to friendly conditions on the golf course for the District 15-3A Tournament Monday afternoon.
It made hitting in the fairways difficult and it led to a third-place finish for Charlotte.
The Tarpons finished with a team score of 395, 23 strokes behind district champion Gulf Coast (372) and four behind second-place Fort Myers (391) at Deep Creek Golf Club.
All three teams advance on to next week’s Region 5-3A at Capri Isles in Venice.
“I didn’t expect to go third today. I thought we could at least get second,” Charlotte coach Josh Hoffart said. “I knew it was going to be an outside chance at taking first place today, but we just would’ve had to of been lights out from start to finish and take advantage of our home course. The conditions were tough and you can see the scores. All the girls struggled. It was a tough day.”
Vasy Montague shot the medalist round, leading Gulf Coast with an 82. Mackenzie Kopka and Cristal Olguin also had strong rounds for the Sharks, shooting a 92 and 93, respectively.
Charlotte sophomore Becky Davis finished three strokes back of Montague to finish second overall with an 85, while junior Laren Fender shot a 92. Both girls thought they could’ve played better, especially on their home course, but admitted the wind made things difficult.
“It was so strong. It was in your face a lot,” Davis said.
The wind was so tough to judge that Fender said she wasn’t even sure what club to use at times.
“That was a battle today,” Fender said. “I know I could have done better. I did better the last two years. I just had a rough day I guess.”
Marissa Nash finished with 107 and Madison Wiley rounded out Charlotte’s score with a 111. Anna Chazel led Fort Myers with an 87 while Kellie Weisse shot a 95, but it was Alaina Johnston’s 100 and Annie Thorp’s 109 that pushed the Green Wave past the Tarpons.
Charlotte’s Delaney McBee was also disqualified after signing an incorrect scorecard, which Hoffart said was tough on the freshman after shooting a rough round.
Even if McBee hadn’t been disqualified, Charlotte still would’ve finished third.
“It as very unfortunate. I feel awful for her, but I know that she’ll learn from it and she’s only a freshman, so sometimes the ones that sting the most are the ones you learn from. I think she’ll be a better player from it.”
The Tarpons are hoping to learn from Monday’s tournament and play better next week in Venice. Hoffart says the course is thin, much like Deep Creek, except his girls don’t know the spots to hit the ball as well.
On top of that, the region is loaded with talent from Venice, Lakewood Ranch, Plant City and Fort Myers. To make matters a little tougher, Nash won’t make the trip for Charlotte because she’ll be out of town.
“It’s going to be tough. I’m hoping that my freshmen learn from this experience today and shoot a little better and then my top players have a better day,” Hoffart said. “You never know. We could have a good day. This region is stacked. It’s a tough region but maybe some of these top girls get crazy and decide to shoot par and maybe sneak into the state championship, but it’s going to be difficult.”
Monday was also difficult but the Tarpons believe it’ll help them play better next week — and hopefully enough to sneak into the state tournament.
“It’ll definitely motivate us. I know that,” Fender said.
DISTRICT 15-3A TOURNAMENT
at Deep Creek Golf Club, Punta Gorda (par 72)
1. Gulf Coast 372; 2. Fort Myers 391, 3. Charlotte 395; 4. Riverdale 480.
1. Vasy Montague (GC) 82, 2. Becky Davis (C) 85, 3. Anna Chazel (FM) 87, 4. Laren Fender (C) 92, 5. Cristal Olguin(GC) 93.
Charlotte: Becky Davis 85, Laren Fender 92, Marissa Nash 107, Madison Wiley 111, Delaney McBee DQ.
Gulf Coast: Vasy Montague 82, Cristal Olguin 93, Mackenzie Kopka 96, Maggie Samson 101, Sierra Studer 103.
Riverdale: Autumn Nance 98, Macey Callans 112, Carmen Roy 132, Amy Troyer 138, Mallory Callans 215.
Fort Myers: Anna Chazel 87, Kellie Weisse 95, Alaina Johnston 100, Annie Thorp 109, M. Artman-Breitung 117.
South Fort Myers: Shelby Doyle 140, Katie Hanson 140.
In the Area
North Port finished seventh in the District 14-3A Tournament. Meadow Southworth qualified individually for the Region 5-3A Tournament with a score of 84.
PUNTA GORDA — Jake Haas felt pretty good as he walked off the 18th green Monday afternoon.
Charlotte’s senior golfer had just sunk a 15-foot birdie to finish off an even par day at Kingsway Country Club, the perfect start for the Tarpons in the District 15-3A Tournament.
But when every golfer among the five teams had signed their cards and the scores were finally posted, the Tarpons came up short again in their quest for the district title in 2016.
Gulf Coast rallied to overtake the Tarpons to win its second straight district championship with a team score of 320, five strokes ahead of Charlotte’s 325. Matt Ariza finished the day with a 79 to lead the Sharks, who showed off their deep and balanced roster with Trace Babb and Peter George both shooting 80s, Christian Taylor posting an 81 and Grant Post finishing with an 84.
Still, Charlotte’s second-place finish was still good to qualify for the Region 5-3A tournament next week right back at Kingsway Country Club. Riverdale also moved on with a score of 335.
“We were close to our averages team-wise,” Charlotte coach Scott Harvey said. “Jake did absolutely wonderful. A couple of our guys were a little higher, but it’s 18 holes. That’s what it looked like on paper with second place. To come that close is heartbreaking, but hey, we get to play as a team next week.”
The Tarpons held the lead halfway through the tournament after Billy Brumbaugh shot an 80 and Derek Yadanza shot an 87. That gave Charlotte a one-stroke lead over Gulf Coast at the time but Truman Bethel entered the clubhouse for Charlotte with an 86 followed by an 87 from Chris Cavic.
That didn’t prove to be enough to stay ahead of the Sharks, who climbed to the leaderboard behind the finishing scores of Babb and Post.
“I feel like we could have shot better,” Haas said. “Those 87s and a 86, those guys can definitely go lower, so we’re playing on our home course again and we’ll see how it goes.”
Haas’ 72 tied his best 18-hole score of the season and was good enough to grab the round’s medalist. That score was also a 12-shot improvement from last year’s district championship and his short game was the key.
Haas bogeyed his first hole but responded with a birdie on the sixth. He later shot a double bogey on the 13th hole but bounced back again with a birdie on the 15th and another on the 18th to finish even par.
“I putted really well. I didn’t hit the ball that great but I made pretty much everything I looked at,” Haas said. “The last two weeks I haven’t hit the ball that great and it felt really good to come out and shoot a 72 today, especially how windy it was.”
The question next week will be whether a 72 will be good enough to get Haas to the state tournament. Region 5-3A is one of the toughest in the state and only the top two teams and top two individuals move on.
The region is so talented that Harvey calls it the “region of death.”
“The state champion usually comes from it,” Harvey said. “A 72 would be squeaking, maybe getting in as an individual. There will be some really good golfers next week and we’ll probably see some teams that are a couple over (par) as a team so the individuals are going to have to play pretty good to move on.”
Haas knows it’ll be tough but he thinks a 72 will be enough. He says that playing at Kingsway Country Club again next week should be an advantage, a course he practiced a lot at over the summer and 18 greens he’s incredibly familiar with.
The senior had two goals this season — win the county championship and grab a spot in the Class 3A state tournament.
He’s already accomplished the first.
One to go.
“That’s a really big goal,” Haas said.
DISTRICT 15-3A TOURNAMENT
at Kingsway Country Club, Punta Gorda (par 72)
1. Gulf Coast 320; 2. Charlotte 325; 3. Riverdale 335; 4. Fort Myers 367; 5. South Fort Myers 511.
1. Jake Haas (C) 72, 2. Bobby Hurst (R) 75, 3. Josh Mesmer (FM) 78, Mark Iwinski (R) 78, 5. Matt Ariza (GC), 6. Billy Brumbaugh (C) 80, Trace Babb (GC) 80, Peter George (GC)80.
Gulf Coast: Matt Ariza 79, Trace Babb 80, Peter George 80, Christian Taylor 81, Grant Post 84.
Charlotte: Jake Haas 72, Billy Brumbaugh 80, Truman Bethel 86, Chris Cavic 87, Derek Yadanza 87.
Riverdale: Bobby Hurst 75, Mark Iwinski 78, Tainter Bundy 88, Zac Robbins 94, Kurtis Eres 113.
Fort Myers: Josh Mesmer 78, Daylan Salters 85, Aldan Bennet 100, Will Fisher 104, Will Ferrall 108.
South Fort Myers: Trent Sones 98, Wade Barnett 129, Noah Thacker 132, Dillion Hamler 152, Zach Taylor 164.
IN THE AREA
North Port finished sixth at the District 14-3A Tournament with a score of 355. Zack Kubik advanced to next week’s Region 5-3A Tournament as one of three individuals with a score of 80.
Port Charlotte won a third straight District 19-2A championship with a score of 322. Lemon Bay finished fourth with a 363. Jacob Cooper, Sam Hinkle and Chace Neer advanced individually from Lemon Bay to next week’s Region 7-2A Tournament.
Port Charlotte: Yui Fujii 78, Marc Kaneko Fujii 79, Jacob Goldman 80, David Derocher 85, Logan Sorah 86.
Lemon Bay: Jacob Cooper 84, Sam Hinkle 88, Chace Neer 90, Reece Barber 101, Colin Sweeny 106.