OLDSMAR — The day’s event didn’t turn out the way the competitors expected — but at least they got a steak dinner.
Clear skies quickly darkened and lightning put an early end to the Outback Invitational on Monday at East Lake Woodlands Country Club.
With a shotgun start just after noon, the players from 16 state teams had just made the turn at the par-72 course as the weather also took a turn.
Tournament officials collected scorecards and narrowed the day to 11 holes as defending Class 2A state champion Lakewood Ranch won the abbreviated tourney with a 3-over par led by Kelly Sun’s individual 2 under.
Tampa Catholic’s Nilo Sanchez, who had a pair of birdies and three bogeys on the day, led the local participants by placing fifth overall and winning a tiebreaker with a 1-over.
“I have five more holes left and I felt they were pretty easy, but you can’t do anything in this weather” Sanchez said. “I’m happy with the way I finished.”
Tampa Catholic has three 18-hole tournaments left on the schedule to prepare the Crusaders for the district tournament, something Sanchez knows is a big advantage to his team’s postseason play.
“I think practicing and getting more involved in 18-hole tournaments helps us,” Sanchez said. “It keeps on building us as we look to get back (to the state tournament).”
Mitchell’s Gold team finished in sixth with a 13-over par, ahead of Tampa Catholic in eighth (14 over), Jesuit in ninth (20 over) and Berkeley Prep in 16th (37 over).