Horsfield Doubles Up: Ridge Golfer Now Has District and County Titles
Mon. October 15, 2012 at 11:42 p.m. | By Solange Reyner
RIDGE COMMUNITY GOLFER SAM HORSFIELD bounces the ball off of his putter after sinking a putt during the Class 2A, District 8 Boys Golf Tournament at Providence Golf Club on Monday. (Photo by ERNST PETERS | THE LEDGER )
By SOLANGE REYNER
LAKELAND | Lake Gibson's boys golf team advanced to regional play for the first time in a long time Monday behind a strong performance by a junior who hadn't picked up a golf club most of the season because of a wrist injury.
Johel Orellanes shot a 1-under-par-71 at Providence Golf Club in Davenport, firing five birdies, four on the front nine, to help the Braves place second at the Class 2A, District 8 tournament on a hot and sunny day. It was Orellanes' fifth golf match this season and his performance was good enough when it mattered the most.
"I thought my score was going to be good, but not that good," he said. "I had a couple of good long putts on holes 8 and 6 and my driver was working well."
The top three teams advance to the regional tournament, which takes place at Temple Terrace Golf and Country Club Monday at 9 a.m. George Jenkins won the district Monday for the third year in a row by shooting 305 and Lakeland came in third after shooting 312. Lake Gibson finished with a score of 310. It's the first time the Braves are in the playoffs since at least 2002, when coach Chip Salerno took over.
The FHSAA website doesn't have playoff records beyond the 2000-01 season.
"Johel was certainly instrumental in getting us here," Salerno said. "But Alex (Goodman) and Richy (Sloan) have come a long way to help us improve, too. We set the goal that we wanted to get to regionals and we did. It feels pretty good to get in. It's the first time since I've had the team."
Goodman finished with a score of 79 and Sloan shot 87. Justin Cranford finished with an 81 for Lake Gibson.
Sam Horsfield was the individual medalist with a 70 and Bartow's Jack Brown and Andrew Penn finished tied second with 75s. All three advance to regional play as individuals.
"I played OK, didn't hit my irons as good," said Horsfield, who also won last week's county meet. "I made a lot of pars, I think 14 in a row, maybe 15."
He also eagled the 13th hole, a 483-yard par-5 considered a long hitter's delight according to the club. Brown, who was in Horsfield's group, also eagled that hole.
Brown relied more on his long game to keep him in the hunt.
"It went well but my short game wasn't right. I've been struggling with it for about a week-and-a-half," said Brown, who looked frustrated after overshooting his putt on the eighth hole. He could have birdied the next hole but his putt came up about two inches short.
"I was pretty upset about that," he said.
It didn't weigh him down, though, and he advanced to regionals for the first time in two years. Brown, a senior, also made it as a sophomore.
Except for one player, Jenkins' squad shot in the 70s. Steven Hancock had a 75, T.J. Wright and Kyle Jenkins 76s and Hayden Hill a 78. Trevor Bates finished with an 84.
"It's great that we won, good to get to regionals," said Hancock, who had three birdies throughout.
But unlike the last two years, Jenkins won't take this upcoming week lightly with practices.
"Before, districts was our goal and we considered the rest gravy," said George Jenkins' coach Paul Weaver. "Last year and the year before when we won it I would give the guys a couple of days off after districts but we're changing that. We're putting our nose to the grindstone this time. There's not much room for error at regionals (where Jenkins was disqualified last year.)"
Lakeland's Jason Huntington wasn't happy with his 79, but Grant Marsh and Cason McNeill's 75s helped lift the Dreadnaughts to third place. Ryan Birt finished with an 83 for Lakeland and Josh Wilson a 91.
[ Solange Reyner may be reached at email@example.com or (863) 802-7526. ]