Saddlebrook boys take one-shot lead on windy day at Class A state tournament.
PORT ST. LUCIE - The winds howled all day at the Fairwinds Golf Course, sending balls wayward and scores upward.
But Saddlebrook has weathered the storm of state championships before, winning the Class A title a year ago. Tuesday, the Spartans persevered again, shooting a team score of 300 for the first-round lead at the state tournament.
St. Augustine Nease, which beat Saddlebrook at the region tournament, looms one shot back, but the Spartans can take a lot of confidence into today's final round after coping so well through the first 18 holes.
"Brutal. It was a three-club wind," Saddlebrook coach Mark Hirshey said. "It was just a fight out there today, and they stayed in it."
G.W. Kim shot par 72, one of three players at or below par. Eddie Peckels of Boca Raton Pope John Paul also shot 72, and Josh Carr of Orlando Lake Highland Prep claimed the first-round lead with 71.
"The wind was just too hard, but I played pretty good," said Kim, who had four birdies, two bogeys and double bogey on the par-4 ninth hole. "I just tried to hit it low, that's all I did."
Kyung Chong shot 74, Sung Won Jeon shot 75 and Connor Doherty fired 79 for Saddlebrook. Today's final round may not be just a two-team fight, though, as Pope John Paul (303), Jacksonville Episcopal (308), Winter Park Trinity Prep (308) and Sebring (309) are within striking distance. "I'm just going to tell them to focus throughout the day (today), no big numbers," Hirshey said.
Saddlebrook's girls struggled on the PGA Golf Club's Dye Course, shooting 339 as a team, fifth overall behind Boca Raton St. Andrews' 305. The Spartans shot 300 at district and 305 at their Class A region tournament.
No Saddlebrook players cracked the top 10 individually. Stephanie Serur led the team with 81, 12th overall. Tyler Etcheberry shot 84, and Randall Norman and Isabel Ramirez each shot 87.
Wesley Chapel's Hana Young had a better day with 76 in the Class 2A tournament at the North Course, good for a tie for eighth, eight shots behind Christina Jones of Stuart Martin County.
"I hit most of the greens, but my putting was just stupid," Young said. "I can't get the hang of the greens. It's driving me crazy."
Young double-bogeyed the ninth hole, her last of the day.
"I lost track of what I was doing," Young said. "It was like, game over."