Prep golf | Lakewood Ranch Mustangs claims second consecutive Class 2A state title

Lakewood Ranch takes 2A crown by three shots

jdill@bradenton.comNovember 1, 2012 

TAVARES -- There are no certainties in golf.

But the Lakewood Ranch boys team hoisting the Class 2A state championship trophy is becoming a guarantee each fall.

The Mustangs enjoyed better scoring conditions in Wednesday's final round of the Class 2A finals held at Deer Island Golf and Lake Club in Tavares and fired a 301 total.

That gave Ranch (127-8) a 610 two-day total and a three-shot victory over Ponte Vedra.

The triumph also gave the Mustangs back-to-back state titles, a feat that was last accomplished in Manatee County by the former Bradenton Prep (2005-06).

"We're just trying to make the best golfers we can," Lakewood Ranch coach Dave Frantz said, "give them the best competition we can. That's been our deal ... basically, feed them with competition, just put them out there and see if they sink or swim. That gives them the experience. And we work on the instruction and psychology and that's the recipe. ... I don't know what the definition of dynasty is. We're not Lakers or Celtics or Yankees, so I would say no. Flash in the pan is one time. Two times is pretty darn good."

Danny Walker's 36-hole total of 152 led the team, while fellow junior Ramsey Touchberry rebounded from a first-round 80 to card the Mustangs' lowest

18-hole score of the tournament with a 1-over-par 73 on Wednesday.

It was Walker's third consecutive state championship after he became the program's first individual champ as a freshman in 2010.

"It's still just as fun as the first time," Walker said. "This is a fun tournament for us."

Walker had the best finish among Ranch players in the individual portion of the event. He tied for 13th. St. Petersburg senior John MaGuire shot 141 for the crown.

Touchberry also snagged his second team title a season after celebrating an undefeated 103-0 campaign that featured three seniors in Lakewood Ranch's starting five last fall.

"It's pretty cool considering we have almost a completely different team other than me and Danny," Touchberry said. "It means a lot, and it's a good ending to a season considering we didn't win everything like we did last year. So we ended up with more wins and losses, but it's awesome."

Spence Schultz (155) watched that state championship and, following the region tournament this year, said he wanted to be a part of his own state title team.

The club's lone senior in the lineup for the 2012 state finals was Ben Boulch, who was motivated to improve his game by not playing regularly in 2011.

"I didn't get the opportunity to play so much, because everybody was so good," said Boulch, who carded rounds of 75-78--153. "It made me work almost every day, just because I knew I wanted to play and I thought I had the talent. Definitely over the summer I practiced really hard, and I got there."

The biggest lowering of his score on Wednesday was sophomore Luke Miller, whose 75 bettered his opening round by 17 shots.

Despite the better scoring from three of the five players, Ranch still wasn't a lock to earn a second consecutive state crown.

"It's one of the weird sports. We don't have a scoreboard," Frantz said. "So it stresses you more than you need to be, because you don't have any idea."

With the state title barely dusted off, the Mustangs are turning their attention to the future and the possibility of adding more records to their golf program.

Only once in state history has a team claimed three straight championships, and it happened with the former Bradenton Prep, which won in 1998 and twice in 1999 when golf was moved from the spring to the fall.

Nonetheless, the Mustangs are ready to deliver.

"We'd like to come back and do it again," Frantz said.

But first, they'll soak up another championship season.

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