The Columbus golf team’s depth has been the big difference in its surge back to the top in Miami-Dade County the past couple of years.
After graduating back-to-back tournament champion Juan Yumar, a new leader emerged Tuesday for the Explorers as they won their fourth consecutive Youth Fair Invitational at the Palmetto Golf Course.
Rafa Martinez made sure the Explorers continued their tradition of dominating the event by shooting a 3-under-par 69 to secure the championship of the 18-hole event.
Martinez, a junior, was a first-team All-Dade selection last season.
Yumar, now a freshman at Barry University, had won the two previous Youth Fair individual titles for Columbus.
At last season’s Youth Fair meet, Martinez only shot a 76 and finished in the lower half of the top 10.
Martinez had a very good summer playing 18-hole events, according to Columbus coach Mike Marinelli.
The efforts carried over to Tuesday’s event where Martinez finished three strokes ahead of runner-up Scott Martinez of Gulliver, who shot a 72.
“Rafa shot a 66 at a South Florida PGA event this past weekend,” Marinelli said. “He followed it up with a strong effort in this tournament. He’s worked hard all summer.”
Columbus shot an impressive 298 as a team to finish 12 strokes ahead of Gulliver.
Also for Columbus, Julio Betancourt won a playoff for third place over South Dade’s Cole Castro after both shot 74.
Joaquin Trigueros also placed sixth for the Explorers.
And the effort came without senior Francisco de la Torre, who remained in school Tuesday taking classes since he is scheduled to compete with pro golfers on the Champions Tour at Pebble Beach, California, the weekend of Sept. 26.
“We set a team goal [Monday] of 297 and we missed it by one stroke,” Marinelli said. “I’m really happy that the team put up a great number like that today.”
Columbus will compete in another tough tournament this weekend in Cape Coral as it plays state powerhouses, including Ida Baker and Lakewood Ranch.
Team: 1. Columbus 298, 2. Gulliver 310, 3. Palmetto 319, 4. Belen 322, 5. Miami Beach 375.
Individual: 1. Rafa Martinez (COL) 69; 2. Scott Martinez (GUL) 72; 3. Julio Betancourt (COL) 74; Cole Castro (SD) 74; 5. Patrick McGrath (RE) 75; 6. Joaquin Trigueros (COL) 76; 7. D.J. Burnham (PAL) and Zachary Montaner (TERRA) 77; 9. Gareth Williams (PAL), Chris Nido (GUL), Tomas Nieves (CG), Spencer Berens (MCD) 78; 13. Jake Moscoso (COL), Paolo Arino (DOR), Jack Fumagalli (PT), Vic Bruzos (GUL), Leo Herrera (BEL) 79.