An aggressive schedule finally paid off for the Ida Baker golf team on Monday with a District 2A-20 championship at Palmetto Pine Country Club in Cape Coral.
The Bulldogs, following a disappointing fourth place performance at the Lee County Athletic Conference championships last Monday, rebounded with a season best score of 324, winning just their second district tournament in the last 10 years.
“We struggled last week at LCAC,” said head coach Scott Conforte, who added that the team shot a 360. “This was a good effort. This was our low for the season. Obviously winning a district tournament, you’re very happy.”
More than that, the Bulldogs featured the individual district winner, too. But it wasn’t Alec DiLallo, who’s been the No. 1 golfer on the team all season.
That honor was bestowed upon freshman Blake Donnelly, who shot a career best 5-over 77, which was 25 strokes better than his performance a week ago.
“Just played smart and hit straight,” Donnelly said.
Donnelly hit his lone birdie at six after starting the morning at 17. He said he avoided risk when he could, opting to hit out of compromising positions to create a better shot for himself.
“Was this expected?” Conforte said. “Probably not. But he’s been in my top four all year. So this isn’t one lucky day for Blake. This is a glimpse of what his potential is every day.”
DiLello was second overall with an 8-over 80, while Adrian Strey was third with an 11-over 83 and Ben Hunt was fourth with a 12-over 84.
Also qualifying for the Region 2A-7 tournament next Monday in Port Charlotte was second-place Cypress Lake and third-place Cape Coral. Mariner’s Joey Sagi (86), and Island Coast’s Hank Owens (93) and Forest Theune (96) punched tickets as individuals.
Conforte said Ida Baker had entered the district tournament with high hopes. In his team’s district schedule, he said, the Bulldogs had beaten everyone they faced against Monday.
“You can’t mail it in,” Conforte said. “You have to play. We played well last week here. After last Monday, we had a Thursday match at home. We shot a 157. To rebound from a poor LCAC to a good nine-hole match, it was nice to trend in the right direction for this.”
District 2A-20 Championships
At Palmetto Pine Country Club, Par 72
Team scores: 1. Ida Baker 324; 2. Cypress Lake 393; 3. Cape Coral 406; 4. Island Coast 430; 5. Mariner 433; 6. North Port 470; 7. LaBelle 492; Dunbar, DNS; Lehigh, DNS
Ida Baker: Blake Donnelly 77, Alec DiLello 80, Adrian Strey 83, Ben Hunt 84, TJ Clapp 93
Cypress Lake: Jacob Kalisik 85, Cole Mattheiss 99, Kameron Smith 99, Carson Wipf 110, Hunter Johnson 112
Cape Coral: Corey Williamson 93, Andrew Jaffarian 102, Preston Siner 103, Nick Brooks 128, Josephp Edwards 108
Island Coast: Hank Owens 93, Forest Theune 96, Tyler Harris 115, Logan Vargosea 126
Mariner: Joey Sagi 86, Wade Williamson 98, Thomas Diller 118, Jacob Grafmyre 131, Thoedore Perchall 168
North Port: Brandon Christensen 107, Connor Leith 113, Trent Dickey 125, Cameron Connelly 125, Michael Whitty 129
LaBelle: Zach Tanner 108, Jason Mathis 110, Josh Miller 133, Zach Price 141
Dunbar: Jacob Tisnor 139, Andrew Carmoega 157
Lehigh: Devin Savard 113, Daniel Spencer 147