LAKE SUZY – Shaving 14 strokes off last week’s District tournament winning total, Gulf Coast High easily won the Region 3A-5 boys golf tournament Monday at Kingsway Country Club.
The Sharks were the only team that had all five players post scores in the 70’s, led by co-medalist Trace Babb with a 75, and outdistanced second place Lakewood Ranch by 14 shots. Although many of the other scores were higher than last week’s district tournament at the same course, every Gulf Coast player either matched or beat their totals from last week.
“I’m really excited for my boys. They played so much better than last week,” Sharks coach Kim Benedict said. “We were so well-prepared. If you would have told us at the beginning of the day that we would be throwing out a 79, we would have been thrilled to hear that. So it’s a really great day for Gulf Coast.”
Backing up Babb’s 75 were Christian Taylor, Peter George and Ryan Hart, who all carded 77, and Matt Ariza with a 79.
“We had a couple of days off school last week so we came up here and played,” Benedict said. “There were some tough pins out there, but we had a plan and we stuck to our plan and they were ready.”
Babb’s 3-over 75 tied for first place with Tommy Wang of Tampa Newsome.
“I made a lot of putts at the start of my round and a lot of putts coming in,” Babb said. “The greens were rolling pretty good, they were real fast. I’m just glad I got up-and-down from a lot of places.”
Meanwhile, when Lakewood Ranch’s 320 total edged Newsome by a stroke for second place, it left Lee County without a representative at next week’s state tournament. Had the Wolves finished second, then Riverdale’s Bobby Hurst and Mark Iwinski, who both shot 78, would have been in a three-way playoff for the final individual qualifying spot. Instead, the individual spots went to Newsome’s Wang and Dhruv Patel, who fired 76s.
Fort Myers’ qualifiers Josh Messmer and Daylun Salters-Powe shot 85, while South Fort Myers Trent Sones carded a 95.
REGION 3A-5 TOURNAMENT
at Kingsway Country Club
Gulf Coast (306): Trace Babb 75, Christian Taylor 77, Peter George 77, Ryan Hart 77, Matt Ariza 79
Lakewood Ranch (320): Billy Herten 79, Louis Delfabro 79, Mike Wijas 79, Drew Angelo 83, Dylan Gabbert 89
Newsome (321): Tommy Wang 75, Dhruv Patel 76, Drew Noel 84, Zach Ferrera 86, Joshua Organ 87
Riverview (322): Pierce Roberts 77, Josh Perna 78, Eric Souchak 80, Steve Rauch 87, E.J. Odegard 88
Venice (324): JImmy Messina 79, Louis Fuimara 79, Eli Martin 81, Dean Badger 85, Gain Laowatdhanasapya 88
Riverdale (339): Bobby Hurst 78, Mark Iwinski 78, Tainter Bundy 89, Zac Robbins 94, Devin Harris 124
Charlotte (347): Truman Bethel 82, Derek Yadanza 87, Jake Haas 87, Billy Brumbaugh 91, Chris Cavic 91
Strawberry Crest (354): Joshua Dent 83, Joseph Dent 85, James Morotti 87, Austin Greczyn 99, Joseph Rivers 99
Plant City (377): Kaelib Carlough 79, Andrew Lee 96, Peyton Martin 97, Jake Kolsa 105, Arie Fry 115
Zach Kubik, North Port 79; Chandler Hammett, Braden River 80; Cameron Wright, Bloomingdale 82; Daylun Salters-Powe, Fort Myers 85; Joshua Messmer, Fort Myers 85; Austin Kuster, Sarasota 88; Cameron Nero, Durant 90; Trent Sones, South Fort Myers 95