If what Miami Springs Senior High School golfers Pat Perez and Luke Llaneras have been doing lately is any indication, then it should quite a season next fall for the MSSH boys golf team.
Llaneras and Perez, who will both be seniors at Springs in September, traveled to Atlantis Country Club in West Palm Beach two weeks ago to compete in a South Florida PGA Challenge Tour event for junior golfers.
And did they ever perform – especially Llaneras.
“By far the best round of my life,” said Llaneras.
It wasn’t enough that Llaneras shot a one-under par 71 on the 7,200 yard course on the first day of the event to break par for the first time ever.
He came right back out the next day and topped that, firing a three-under 69 for a two day total of 140, four under par and “ran away” with the tournament, finishing six shots ahead of the field.
The cool part for Llaneras was that the person that finished closest to him was none other than his teammate and friend, Perez who took home the second place ribbon in the boys 14 to 18 age division.
Perez, who was a Miami Herald First Team All-County selection this year, shot a three-over 75 on the first day and then nailed down a one-under 71 the second day for a 146 total, two over par.
“I really got it going out there and had a lot of fun,” said Llaneras. “I’m happy I shot great here and it really will boost my confidence for my next big event.”
And what a big event it will be.
Both Llaneras and Perez will head north again to Lake Worth Country Club on Saturday and Sunday, June 1-2 and the stakes will be even higher as the venue will be the first round of qualifying for the National U.S. Amateur.
“We had decided a few months back that we wanted to go up there and give it a shot,” said Llaneras. “Now we’re both going up there having really played well at this last tournament so the timing is perfect.”
Following his 75 on the first day, Perez came out and fired a two-under 34 on the front nine on the second day and it came close to being a 33 as his short chip for eagle on the par 5 ninth hole lipped out and he settled for a birdie.
“I actually struggled more tee to green on the second day but made up for it on the greens,” said Perez. “I hit only nine greens which was four less than the first day but my putter was hot and I had just 24 putts which can really shave off shots in a hurry.”
Llaneras, who did not compete on the Springs golf team last season, citing problems with his back as the primary reason, came out smoking after his first-day 71 and hit 16 of 18 greens in regulation on the second day, a stat most top line PGA touring pros would have trouble matching.
“I was driving the ball right down the middle of the fairway which leaves you in a good position to hit the green,” said Llaneras. “And when you’re hitting greens, even if you’re not necessarily tight to the pin, that means you’re always at least giving yourself a chance at birdie and greatly reducing your chances of making bogey.”
Believe it or not, Llaneras actually had a four-footer for par on the par five 18th hole that would’ve given him a 68.
“I drove behind a tree with my second shot and had to punch out,” said Llaneras. “I hit a chip to four feet but just couldn’t drop the putt. It still felt great to shoot such a great round and I’m really looking forward to Lake Worth next week.”