Prep golf | Lakewood Ranch boys set another school record, win district by 23 shots w/video

3 Braden Riverplayers advanceto region event

jdill@bradenton.comOctober 15, 2013 

VENICE -- Lakewood Ranch's boys golf team is peaking when it matters most.

The Mustangs shattered the school record they set Friday in the Manatee County Championships during Monday's Class 3A-District 14 tournament.

Lakewood Ranch (129-5) produced an 18-under-par 270 total for the record, compiling 25 birdies and three eagles from its five players to capture the district title by 23 shots over Sarasota Riverview at the Venetian Golf and River Club.

Only the top four scores counted in the team total, meaning Danny Walker's 65, Ramsey Touchberry's 66, Luke Miller's 67 and Kelly Sun's 72 were used. Even No. 5 player Charlie Sun (74) carded a round worthy of No. 1 status on other teams in the field.

Ranch feasted on the 6,550-yard layout with spacious greens, and none performed better than the University of Virginia-bound Walker, who complemented his five birdies with two eagles to offset an early double-bogey.

Walker wasn't going low right away; his round was jump-started when he hit the 12th hole.

"We push each other to play better," Walker said. "Coach (Dave Frantz) told

me Ramsey was at 5 (under) when I was on 12, and I was only 2 (under) at that time, so I knew I had to get it going. ... A hole later, I went eagle, birdie, birdie. It got me focused."

From there, the senior took it to the next level and nipped Touchberry by a shot for medalist honors.

Touchberry had six birdies and an eagle to offset two bogeys, while Miller converted seven birdies against two bogeys.

Those scorching numbers come as the postseason march toward a potential third consecutive state championship begins.

However, Frantz expects the Venetian to play tougher next Monday when the Mustangs return to action at the same venue for the region tournament.

A big threat to Ranch there is Lithia Newsome, a team the Mustangs have defeated three times this fall but possess a talented roster capable of going low.

"We were already a target, now we're even a bigger target," Frantz said. "The challenge is to kind of put those scores up again, which is kind of really impossible to think that we would be able to do that. On the other hand, we know Newsome. We've played in several tournaments with them. ... We know they are within striking distance. We respect them, Riverview and anybody else, (Naples) Gulf Coast. Those are the big suspects that we keep an eye on."

With just three teams advancing from district play, Venice (305) snagged the last spot behind Ranch and Riverview.

Three individuals not already on a qualifying team also made it into next week's field. All three came from Braden River, with Andrew Hammett (76), Brandon Pozzie (79) and Max Everett (80) qualifying.

Everett earned his way with a par on the second sudden death playoff hole to secure the final berth over North Port's Rodrigo Amaya and Sarasota's Ben Tortorice.

The Pirates posted a collective 316, but were relegated to fourth place.

Manatee (352) finished sixth to round out area teams, with Sai Gadam (83) and Robby Tingler (83) posting the low scores for the Hurricanes.

However, the day belonged to the mighty Mustangs and three players that recorded rounds in the 60s.

"We just continue to play our own game, and don't really mess around with records that much," Miller said. "We just go out and play golf like we always do."

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