Roundup: Columbia boys golf claims district title

Columbia's district champion boys golf team, from left to right: Jacob Soucinek, Nick Jones, coach Steve Smithy Dillan Van Vleck, Luke Soucinek, Tim Bagley.

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Published: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 8:08 p.m.

All season long, Columbia coach Steve Smithy has stressed the importance of finishing a sloppy round strong to his golfers.

On Tuesday, the 12-year veteran finally saw his message sink in as the Tigers won the seven-team District 4-2A tournament by 52 strokes in soggy conditions at The Country Club at Lake City.

“The course was in great shape this morning, but the weather was just a little off today,” Smithy said. “It was not necessarily a great scoring day and a lot of the elements were working against the kids.”

In qualifying for next Monday's Region 2 tournament, Columbia placed four golfers in the top-5 overall for a 312 total, followed by runner-up Palatka's score of 364. Third-place Bradford (393) was the final team to qualify for regionals after edging Suwannee in a one-hole playoff.

Tigers junior Dillan Van Vleck, who shot a 77, earned the individual district title in a four-hole playoff with Suwannee's Will Bozeman.

“Dillan, to be quite honest, has been struggling,” Smithy said. “He started the season really strong, then he kind of struggled in the last couple weeks. But I always told the guys the district tournament is the time to start peaking.”

Columbia's Tim Bagley and Luke Soucinek both finished in third place with scores of 78, while senior Nick Jones closed his round in fifth overall with a 79.

Following their district win, the Tigers will travel Monday to play their regional tournament at The Plantation in Ponte Vedra.

District 2-3A: Buchholz booked its sixth straight trip to the Class 3A, Region 1 tournament, taking second place in the District 2 tournament Tuesday at Seminole Golf Course in Tallahassee.

The Bobcats, led by third-place individual finisher Chandler Blanchet's 70, shot a season-low 299, second to only Tallahassee Chiles (278). Also advancing from the Bobcats are Tyler Allen (75), Manny Diaz (76), Bryan Chalifoux (78) and Alex Thomas (81).

“Our team is really starting to come together and we're playing our best golf right now,” seventh-year Buchholz coach Brian Tribby said.

Also moving forward from the area was Gainesville High's Pureun Kim, who finished sixth overall with a 73. The Hurricanes tied for fourth with Tallahassee Lincoln with matching scores of 329, but only the top three teams advance to regionals with Tallahassee Leon (304) claiming the third spot.

Taking individual honors was Chiles' Bennett Baker with a 65. The regional tournament is set for Tuesday at Seminole Golf Course.

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