Douglas golfer Daniel Whelan was the picture of inner turmoil as he sat in the clubhouse at Jacaranda Golf Club in Plantation early Tuesday afternoon.
Scores from the Region 7-3A boys’ golf tournament were arriving and reality was starting to settle in. Whelan had just finished a solid round of even-par 71, but things had not gone as well for his teammates.
The Eagles entered Tuesday’s competition as one of the favorites to advance to the state tournament in two weeks in Tavares. But, needing a second-place finish or better, Douglas players, with a combined score of 304, found themselves three shots short of where they needed to be as Boca Raton came in at 301 to take second and punch its ticket to state.
Led by Josh August, who earned medalist honors for the day with a 3-under 68, Lake Worth Park Vista turned in an impressive 290 score to easily win the event.
The only good news for Whelan and what led to his bittersweet feeling was that his 71 was good enough to qualify him for state as an individual (the top two individual scores outside of the two qualifying teams advance to state), but that still meant he would be going north by himself.
“The idea was for all of us to be going as a team,” said Whelan, a junior. “That was our goal coming in, and we really felt we were in great shape to accomplish that [Tuesday]. I guess it just didn’t happen. What really stinks is that all those guys [teammates Skyler Thompson, 77, Alec Herzfeld, 78, Matt Newman, 78, and Brandon Morrison, 80) are seniors and won’t get another shot.”
And even though he shot 71, it must have felt like a million considering just one week earlier Whelan had torched Osprey Point in Boca Raton with a career-best, 9-under 63 in the district tournament.
“Really up and down [Tuesday], as I had five birdies and five bogeys,” Whelan said. “The course was in great shape tee to green, but I had a real problem with the greens, as it looked like they hadn’t been rolled or cut and had scuff marks all over the place. That made them difficult to read.”
“This was the third time we’ve played this course this year and had pretty much set the number we had to shoot at 300 or better,” Douglas coach Darren Levine said. “We came out here Sunday and had a good practice round, so there was no reason to believe things wouldn’t go well [Tuesday], but that’s golf sometimes. It happens.”
Led by Zachary Volts’ 2-over 73, St. Thomas Aquinas came in with a fourth-place finish, just three shots behind Douglas at 307. Playing out of the individual qualifier division, Tyler Segal of West Boca Raton was the other individual qualifier with a 1-over 72.