The Florida Region’s second tournament of the spring was filled with so much drama that it couldn’t wait for the tournament to start.
A mere 5 days before our tournament was scheduled, we received word that Ocala National would be aerating their greens during the week. Obviously, we could not play there as the greens would be terrible and no fun for all involved. Luckily, the great people at Stone Creek Golf Club were willing to take all 40 of our players on such short notice; and for this we thank them dearly.
This was our second trip to Stone Creek, as we played there in the fall as well. That being said, the course was in even better shape than we remembered it. The fairways were lush and smooth, while the rough was fairly short. The greens were very receptive and soft, but also rolled smooth and true. (I would say about 10-11 on the stimpmeter) The weather was also perfect with mid 70’s temperatures both days and minimal cloud cover. This set the stage for what would be an epic showdown of already bitter rivals.
On Saturday, all players went off on a 1PM shotgun start with split tees. While there were many impressive matchups, the marquee pairing included UF’s captain Laura Kanouse and FSU’s captain Patrick Barnes. Kanouse came out flawless with a bogey-free 70 but was matched by Barnes who shot 37, 33 for his lowest round ever. Other standouts from the day include Keiser’s Colby Takushi and FSU’s Kyle Jackson who both shot impressive 69’s. After the first round FSU shot an amzing -1 359 and took a commanding 15 shot lead over the field over UF (374). Right behind them was Keiser (377) who was only 3 shots off their pace.
The second day started with an 8:30 AM shotgun and all teams were excited for this Masters Sunday to begin. The wind had picked up since the day before, which made the course a little more difficult to navigate. Only two players (UF’s Zachary Stanley and Keiser’s Victor Cuevas) shot under par with a pair of 70’s. Meanwhile, Keiser’s Takushi shot a even 72 to hang onto the medalist honors by one stroke over FSU’s Jackson. As far as teams go, UF came back with a vengeance and shot an impressive 361 to tie FSU at 735. FSU let off the gas pedal a little bit with a 376 but it was UF who went out and won the tournament. Senior Blake Herschberger holed out on his 18th hole for an eagle and essentially tied the match. They then went onto win with their 6th man combined score of 153 to FSU’s 156. While the finale was full of excitement with the rivals tied, it makes me wonder if there could be a more exhilarating playoff format to decide the victors. This being said, the tournament was still a huge success and a great time for all players.
***Connect with RC Patrick Barnes @NCCGAFlorida.