Not surprisingly, Archbishop McCarthy High and American Heritage once again made Broward County the focal point of high school golf on Wednesday — and they did it decisively.
The McCarthy girls won the Class 2A championship by 11 strokes and the Heritage boys overpowered the field by 16 strokes.
Not much was in doubt for most of the day at the Mission Inn Resort & Club in Howey-in-the Hills.
For McCarthy coach Carl Phillips and his girls, the title was the second in a row after defeating Broward rival Heritage for the championship a year ago in a one-hole playoff.
“A year ago was our first state title,” Phillips said, “and it was special because it was the first one. This one was special because we had four seniors on the team. For the senior girls, this is a great way to go out. They know any state title is special.”
One of those seniors, Julia Matzat, shot 76-75—151 in the two day tournament to lead McCarthy as she finished in a tie for fifth individually. The other seniors were Brooke Benedetto (83-71—154), Christen Simons (81-81—162) and Georgette Garcia (84-80—164). The final player on the team, Natalia Jimenez (85-78—163), will have a few more chances to visit Howey-in-the-Hills since she is a ninth-grader.
The McCarthy girls headed into Wednesday’s final round of the two-round tournament on the Las Colinas Course trailing Heritage by one shot but kept their composure.
“They are resilient,” Phillips said.
So were the Heritage boys. Leading them was Jonathan Cachon, who tied for third with rounds of 72-75 and a total of 3-over-par 147.
Giving him support were teammates Jude Kim (71-78—149) in fifth place, Leo Herrera (77-75—152) in a tie for seventh, Alberto Martinez (80-78—158) in a tie for 15th and Jonathan Mourin (78-84—162) in a tie for 24th.
Putting all five of your players in the top 24 translates into a state championship.
The team in second and far, far back was Ponte Vedra, which won the title a year ago by edging out Heritage. Wednesday’s 16-stroke victory by Heritage could be considered payback.
Whereas the McCarthy girls won with the experience of four seniors, Heritage won with youth — an eighth-grader, two ninth-graders, a junior and a senior.
“It’s a lot to ask 13- and 14-year-olds to compete with 18-year-olds,” Heritage coach Brandt Moser said. “But they came through. They kept grinding and grinding.”
The Campeon Course the boys played is a tough layout. A missed green often means a double-bogey or even triple-bogey. As Moser put it, “You better put your big-boy pants on.”
Moser was asked if the young players on his team realized what winning a state championship means.
“Not sure,” Moser said. “They are happy, real happy, but maybe it will hit them even more when they put a ring on their finger.”
There were other South Florida golfers who left their mark on the tournament.
In the boys’ competition, Julius Boros from Cardinal Gibbons was in ninth place at 76-77—152, and Miami Belen Jesuit’s Enrique Vila (74-78—162) finished in a tie for 24th.
In girls the girls’ competition, Heritage’s Jillian Bourdage (80-72—152) placed ninth and Casey Weidenfeld, an eighth-grader, was tied for 12th at 79-77—156 and Jennifer Lilly of Pembroke Charter recorded a 78-81—159.
Boys’ team standings: 1. American Heritage, 604; 2. Ponte Vedra Beach, 620; 3. Bishop Moore Catholic, 631; 4. (tie) Gulf Breeze, Jesuit High, 659; 6. Bishop Kenny, 678; 7. (tie) Archbishop McCarthy, West Florida Advanced Technology, 682; 9. Mainland High School, 693; 10. Naples High, 695.
Boys’ individual standings: 1. (tie) Ignacio Arcaya, Bishop Moore Catholic, Cody Carroll, Middleburg, 144; 3. (tie) Jonathan Cachon, American Heritage, Luke Farmer, Estero, 147; 5. Jude Kim, American Heritage, 149; 6. Brian Richards, Gulf Breeze, 151; 7. (tie) Leo Herrera, American Heritage, Marc Kaneko-Fujii, 152; 9. Julius Boros, Cardinal Gibbons, 153; 10. (tie) Andrew Farraye, Ponte Vedra Beach, Spencer Slayden, Ponte Vedra Beach, Davis Lee, Ponte Vedra Beach, 154.
Girls’ team standings: 1. Archbishop McCarthy, 628; 2. American Heritage, 639; 3. Ponte Vedra Beach, 647; 4. Nease, 674; 5. Naples Barron Collier, 685; 6. Fort Walton Beach, 694; 7. Pace, 709; 8. Bishop Moore Catholic, 720; 9. Orlando Edgewater, 755; 10. South Lake, 784.
Girls’ individual standings: 1. Kendall Griffin, Sebring, 140; 2. Julia Towne, Eustis, 143; 3. Sophie Membrino, Ponte Vedra Beach, 147; 4. Paige Wilson, South Lake, 150; 5. (tie) Claire Albrecht, Mainland; Cameron Fish, Arnold; Julia Matzat, Archbishop McCarthy; Auston Kim, Nease, 151; 9. Jillian Bourdage, American Heritage, 152; 10. Brooke Bennedetto, Archbishop McCarthy, 154.