Lakewood Ranch golfers win region crown; Manatee's Gianna Tomeo advances to state tourney

Manatee's Tomeo headed to state

jdill@bradenton.comOctober 22, 2013 

VENICE -- Ramsey Touchberry warmed up as usual on the driving range before his round in the boys Class 3A-Region 5 golf tournament Monday.

Then Lakewood Ranch assistant coach Matt Gordon noticed something amiss with the senior's 7-iron.

"There's been a small gap between the hosel and the actual clubhead for a few weeks," Touchberry said. "Coach Gordon actually picked it up and looked at it after I hit with it, and he was all worried. I said it was just the black hosel part, it doesn't matter. Then he says my name again, and I look over and he has it, each piece in each hand, because he pulled the head off. … He went in, and luckily the pro here was able to put some quick epoxy to repair it. It's just a temporary fix."

Touchberry used the club twice in Monday's event, flagging one shot while airmailing the green on the other.

No matter what club he was using, though, the University of Florida-bound golfer fired on all cylinders to post a course record 65 and gain medalist honors at the Venetian Golf and River Club to aide Lakewood Ranch's fourth consecutive region title.

The Mustangs (137-5) posted a 4-under par 284 on a 6,805-yard layout that was lengthened about 300 yards from the district event where Ranch posted a program record 270 total.

Despite the higher tally on Monday, it was the lowest region score that the Mustangs have posted in their five total region championships. The previous low was the 286 they fired at Bent Tree in 2011.

In addition, they earned one of two state tournament berths to the 3A tourney held at Mission Inn in two weeks.

Ranch will aim for its third consecutive state crown.

"In the back of my mind saying, 'Well, if we got to get stuck waiting two weeks to play, at least we might get some nice weather,'" Ranch head coach Dave Frantz said. "The last three years at states, it's been 20-30 mile per hour winds both days."

Joining the Mustangs were Lithia Newsome, who secured the other berth with a 291 total, and bested Sarasota Riverview by two shots.

Two individuals earned qualifying berths, and they were Plant City Durant's Jacob Penny (69) and Fort Myers' Landon Weber (71). Weber defeated Sarasota Riverview's Erik Souchak and Naples Gulf Coast's Garrett Edwards in a sudden-death playoff.

Braden River's three individuals finished their season, with Max Everett and Andrew Hammett posting 82s, while Brandon Pozzie carded a 91.

Meanwhile, the girls region was held at Capri Isles Golf Club.

Venice (334) and Sarasota Riverview (349) secured the two team spots, while Manatee (398) finished its season with a sixth-place showing.

However, Hurricanes junior Gianna Tomeo is advancing after earning medalist honors with a 1-over par 73.

It's the third straight year of her high school career that Tomeo will head to the state tournament, and will do so at a venue she competed at as a freshman in Mission Inn.

"I love that course Mission Inn," Tomeo said. "I'm going to try and play well, and get top five."

Lakewood Ranch's Theresa Morrisey (97) and Braden River's Bianca Dean (100) wrapped their prep seasons in the region event.

Lithia Newsome's Meghna Patel (78) secured the final individual qualifying berth.

The heartbreak moment came for Plant City, when the team took a fifth place finish rather than earning the runner-up and final state qualifying spot after Kaylee McIntosh was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard.

McIntosh signed for an 80 total, but golfers are responsible for each individual hole, which added up to 79.

A violation of the USGA rule for signing for a lower total than what one had results in a disqualification.

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