There was more drama than a daytime soap opera could ever produce Monday afternoon at the Boys Region 8-3A golf tournament at Weston Hills Country Club in Weston.
It came in stages, first with a disqualification due to signing an incorrect scorecard, then with a major upset with an off-the-radar team winning it, and finally a dramatic one-hole playoff between the two favorites with only one team advancing to state.
Seemingly always playing in the shadow of Cypress Bay High, the Western boys golf team enjoyed their moment in the sun coming in with a team score of 302, two shots better than both Cypress Bay and Columbus, which tied for second at 304.
Wildcat players didn’t know their fate until the very last group on the course came in as teammate Muhammed Mir needed to come in with a 78 or better to give them the title.The high-fives and hugs could be seen and heard near the 18th green when Mir recorded a 77, giving the program it’s first-ever trip to the state tournament Nov. 4-5 at Deer Island Golf Club in Tavares.
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“I’m ecstatic and so excited for the kids, because they did a fabuolus job and they deserve this moment today,” said Western coach John Bua. “They’ve been coming in with good scores all year but not all at the same time. Today, they put all of the good scores together and this is the result.”
Mir double-bogeyed the 17th meaning he needed bogey or better on the difficult 440-yard par-4 18th which is guarded by water all up the left side. Mir calmly hit the green in regulation and two-putted for a par.
“I recently changed my swing and bought a new putter a few days ago, and it paid off today,” said Mir. “Nobody really said anything to me when I was coming in so I really didn’t know exactly where we were at but I guess it was one of those golf sixth senses where I could feel the tension building and began to realize that every single shot I hit was important.”
But things weren’t done. Because only the top two teams qualify for state, Columbus and Cypress Bay headed out for the 18th tee with all eight players (two foursomes) playing it off with the low total aggregate score winning.
After the first group each recorded a bogey, the second group came up and CB’s Jonathan Cachon turned out to be the hero. A skulled four-iron from 185 yards out where the ball was never more than three feet off the ground scooted straight up onto the green and off the back fringe 20 feet away. Cachon then drained the putt for the most unlikliest of birdies and when teammate Howard Ki made his 10-footer for par, the team score of 7 gave the Lightning a second place finish and second straight trip to state.
“I had a four-iron from 185 and just skulled it and wound up getting really lucky,” said Cachon. “I had a 20 foot left-to-right slider off the fringe and knew it had a chance when it left the blade. The craziest birdie I’ll ever get in my life.”
It turned out to be a heartbreaking day for Columbus. Not only for losing the playoff, but knowing there never should have been one.
As it turned out, Joaquin Trigueros signed an incorrect scorecard (card had 82 when he shot 83) therefore disqualifying him. Thus the Explorers had to use their fifth-best score, an 84 by Francisco de la Torre and the one stroke difference meant 304 instead of a 303 which would’ve ultimately secured second place.
On the good side for Columbus, Julio Betancourt shot a terrific three-under 69 to take medalist honors and advances to state individually along with D.J. Burnham from Palmetto who shot 73.
“Just a tough life lesson today,” said Columbus coach Mike Marinelli. “You feel awful for the young man but some of the best golfers in the world have done it and it happened to Joaquin at the worst possible time.A tough day for Columbus golf, but on the bright side Julio is headed north and will carry the banner for us and we’re proud of him and I’m proud of all the kids. I wish everybody was going up there but what can you do now.”
Team results: 1. Western 302, 2. Cypress Bay 304*, 3. Columbus 304, 4. Palmetto 311, 5. Belen Jesuit 321, 6. Coral Reef 331, 7. Cooper City 346, 8. Miami Beach 350, 9. South Dade 353. * – Won playoff.
Archbishop McCarthy’s girls’ golf team scored a huge winMonday heading into next week’s state meet by finishing ahead of defending state champion American Heritage to win the Region 8-2A championship at the Lago Mar Country Club.
Christen Simons led the Mavericks by shooting a 73 to finish third, and Katya Barahona finished tied for fifth with Heritage’s Andreina Merchan at 76. Brook Benedetto and Georgette Garcia each shot 77 for McCarthy.
Pine Crest’s Sam Haubenstock won medalist honors with a 71 and North Broward Prep’s Hannah Leiner shot a 72 to advance individually to state.
On the boys’ side, Heritage posted an impressive score of 281 led by individual meet champion Jorge Garcia, who shot a 66. Pine Crest finished second and also qualified for state as a team led by individual runner-up Steven Chervony (67). Archbishop McCarthy had two golfers, Ryan Stenmark and Jeremy Chaiser each qualify individually for state.
ANDRE C. FERNANDEZ
Girls’ team scores: Archbishop McCarthy 303, American Heritage 311, Pine Crest 354, Lincoln Park 379, Jensen Beach 395, Okeechobee 445, Cardinal Gibbons 546.
Girls’ individual results: 1. Sam Haubenstock (PC) 71; 2. Hannah Leiner (NBP) 72; 3. Emily Faulkner (Jensen Beach), Christen Simons (AM) 73; 5. Andreina Merchan (AH) and Katya Barahona (AM) 76; 7. Brook Benedetto (AM) and Georgette Garcia (AM) 77; 9. Sunny Li (AH) and Casey Weidenfeld (AH) 78; 11. Lorena De Antonio (AH) 79.
Boys’ team scores: American Heritage 281, Pine Crest 289, Archbishop McCarthy 290, Jensen Beach 305, Cardinal Gibbons 308, Gulliver 319, Lincoln Park 346, Okeechobee 352, Pines Charter 361,
Boys’ individual results: 1. Jorge Garcia (AH) 66; 2. Steven Chervony (PC) 67; 3. Austin Colon (PC) and Ty Strafaci (AH) 69; 5. Kristian Caparros (AH) and x-Ryan Stenmark (AM) 71; 7. x-Jeremy Chaiser (AM) 72; 8. Julius Boros (CG), Daniel Gonzalez-Quevedo (AM) and Scott Martinez (GUL) 73.