TONY CASTROTwo trends continued Thursday afternoon at Brooksville Country Club.
Published: September 20, 2012
Published: September 20, 2012
Across the front nine of the 3,216-yard layout, Springstead's boys golfers maintained their grip on local domination.
Since Springstead opened the 2010 season on the wrong foot – a 174-162 loss to Hernando at the Brooksville course – the Eagles have not dropped a match to any county opponent.
On Thursday, the winning streak was extended to 20 matches – or 19-0-1 – since the 2010 curtain raiser, 160-190.
Meanwhile, the host Leopards dropped their fourth straight match.
The Eagles climbed to 3-2 overall behind their third county scalp in three matches. Both losses, however, were to defending district champion Crystal River.
After losing by 14 shots to the Pirates at Plantation Inn on Aug. 30, 175-161, the Spring Hill linksters dropped the return match Monday at World Woods, 142-136.
At Brooksville C.C., the Mariner Boulevard linksters shot a season-best 160, surpassing Sept. 4's 169 at The Dunes against Central.
It was no surprise that three-time All-County performer, senior Ryan Nicoll, paced the Eagles with a nine-hole 37 total.
Nicoll's round featured a mixed bag – a birdie on his first hole and two bogeys.
"From tee to green I did pretty well," shrugged the defending Hernando County low medalist, who came into the week averaging 36.5 shots per nine holes. "They just sanded the course this week so I didn't make any putts."
On how the course played, "It was still a little wet in the fairways. The way I see it, I've played three good rounds so far this year after my 41 (at World Woods)," he said. "I just got a new driver and a new putter; I'm still trying to figure them out. Hopefully, by the end of the season I have it down."
Nicoll was expecting a challenge from Hernando's best player, junior Cody Montgomery.
According to second-year Hernando mentor Kevin Magilligan, Montgomery was not available.
En route to school on Thursday, Montgomery's truck apparently ran out of gas, so he did not attend school.
"I love playing against Cody (Montgomery)," admitted Nicoll. "He's tough. Now, I won't see him again until the county meet."
Though Nicoll led the charge, he was not alone. Eagle junior Brazon Dixon fired a seasonal-best 38, followed by sophomore Brendan Pfent (41), junior Ryan O'Connell (44) and sophomore Ben Cash (48).
Like Dixon, both Pfent and O'Connell enjoyed their finest nine-hole totals this season.
Less than 24 hours after Hernando carded a seasonal-best 167 total in a loss to Crystal River at Plantation Inn in Citrus County, the Leopards dipped to 2-6 overall.
"Without Cody, we went with two sophomores and three freshmen today," lamented Coach Magilligan. "I was so looking forward to this match, especially seeing Cody facing Nicoll. It is what it is. Not having Cody available probably cost us 15-17 strokes – that's a lot."
"Overall, we're getting better," noted Magilligan. "Watch out for these guys in 2-3 years. We're already much better than we were when we opened the season."
Though Montgomery – the county runner-up last fall to Nicoll – was not available, freshman Pierce Kimbrough continued to turn heads with a season-best 43.
"Right now, Pierce is striking the ball exceptionally well," said Coach Magilligan. "For a ninth grader, he's going to be something to watch as a senior."
"I played pretty well today," understated the 15-year-old Kimbrough, demonstrating a huge scar along the base of his left elbow. "Considering I'm coming off arm surgery, I'm fortunate to even be playing.
"Today's round beat my 44 against Crystal River, so I'm doing better," he added. "The arm is not 100 percent, but it's getting stronger every day."
Leopard sophomore Daniel Merritt III added a 48, followed by senior Brandon Lawson (49), freshman Clay Everett (50), sophomore Bryan Mitko (52) and freshman Travis Ritter (55).
Lawson, a Division I baseball prospect, has had an up-and-down golf season, posting a pair of uncharacteristic 59 nine-hole totals.
He shot a seasonal-best 45 Wednesday against Crystal River.
"That's what happens when you don't lift a club during the summer," shrugged the 17-year-old Lawson. "I've changed my swing a lot. Now, I'm using more of a Happy Gilmore-type swing and it's working for me."
Springstead 160, Hernando 190
SPRINGSTEAD (160) – Ryan Nicoll 37, Brazon Dixon 38, Brendan Pfent 41, Ryan O'Connell 44, Ben Cash 48.
HERNANDO (190) – Pierce Kimbrough 43, Daniel Merritt III 48, Brandon Lawson 49, Clay Everett 50, Bryan Mitko 52, Travis Ritter 55.
Records – Springstead (3-2), Hernando (2-6).