CRYSTAL RIVER — A total of 25 golfers from five different high schools competed Monday afternoon in the Class 2A District 7 boys’ golf tournament at the Plantation Inn golf course. And after a total of 450 holes of hotly contested golf — with temperatures on the links maxing out at over 90 degrees by mid-day — a district champion was finally crowned.
The Lecanto Panthers, after taking runner-up honors to Dunnellon a year ago, won the 2A-7 district title with a combined low-score of 331 strokes, defeating host Crystal River by a whopping 39 strokes. It is Lecanto’s first title in almost a decade.
Crystal River took second place (370), followed by South Sumter (388) in third. All three schools qualified for next week’s regional meet in Eustis. Dunnellon and Citrus placed fourth (423) and fifth (435), respectively, missing out on regional berths.
Citrus’ Chance Yates finished second as an individual in the meet, shooting an 18-hole score of 98 (46-52). Yates is the lone Hurricane to qualify for regionals.
Gavin Szydlo of Dunnellon took medalist honors in the tournament with a five-over-par 77 (38-39), qualifying for regionals. Teammate Levi Cox was the third and final individual to advance. He shot 104 (49-55) on the day.
The regional meet will be held Tuesday, Oct. 24 at Black Bear Golf Club in Eustis. Lecanto won the region team title there last season to advance to state.
Celebrating his first district title as Lecanto’s head coach, Scot Roberts was jubilant after the meet.
“It’s great,” Roberts said. “The guys played well. If we can repeat that next week (at regionals), I think we’ll do fine.”
Lecanto’s Fernando Invernizzi finished second overall in the meet, one stroke back of Szydlo, carding a six-over 78 (37-41). Teammates Josh Wiseman and Connor Sachewicz took fourth and fifth overall, respectively, shooting identical rounds of 82 (both players shot an identical front and back nine of 41 as well). Andrew Knighton carded an 89 (40-49) to place eighth overall and complete the Panthers’ team score.
Austin Cobb was Crystal River’s top finisher, placing third overall in the meet with a
10-over 82 (42-40). Teammates Trent Stukes and Pierce Chaney placed seventh and ninth overall, respectively. Stukes shot an 88 (45-43), while Chaney shot a 94 (45-49). Kyle Touchton completed the Pirates’ team score with his 106 (48-58).
Crystal River head coach Tas Pepito was satisfied with how his young team performed in the tournament, placing a solid second and advancing to regionals.
“I think that they did pretty well,” Pepito said. “They did well enough to move on to the next level. We knew that Lecanto was going to be a tough team to beat. Our goal was to try and finish a good, solid match, finish as close as we could. And we achieved that.”
Citrus’ Tristin Corlew (60-50—110), Charles Spivey (56-56—112) and Tyler Hartley (57-58—115), along with Yates, completed the ’Canes’ team score.
Other participating local golfers who played but did not score for their respective teams include Crystal River’s Tyler Labelle (53-54—107), Citrus’ Kenneth VanAsdonk (64-67—131) and Lecanto’s Alex Roberts (73-64—133).