Celebration boys, Harmony girls OBC golf champs
By J. Daniel Pearson
For the News-Gazette
Celebration posted a come-from-behind win over Harmony’s boys in the 2013 Orange Belt Conference Championships Monday at Royal St. Cloud Golf Club.
But, at Harmony Golf Preserve, the Harmony girls, as expected, easily won their second straight OBC title.
Celebration’s boys posted a team score of 314, finishing ahead of 2012 champion Harmony (323) by nine shots. Depth proved to be the difference for the Storm as they had four golfers post scores of 83 or better. That was more than enough to erase Harmony’s advantage at the top, as Cory Herman took medalist honors with an even-par 72 while teammate and defending OBC Champion Tyler Bennett tied Celebration’s Grafton Mouen for second place at 74 for the Longhorns.
“Obviously, I think we are excited to finally win the team championship,” Storm Head Coach Tony Brus said. “But looking at our individual scores, I think we know we can shoot a lot better. I honestly thought we had a good chance to post four scores in the 70s. Not sure whether it was a case of the nerves or whether the weather delay got to us, but I know this team can play a lot better than we did today. Still it was a great team win and now we can look forward to district competition next Monday.”
Playing out of the number one position, Storm sophomore Ben Sedwick managed just a nine-over 81. Sophomore Ryan Johnson added a 76, but Celebration found itself down by 11 shots to Harmony after the first two groups posted their scores. Storm junior Luke O’Connell’s 83 cut the deficit to seven before Mouen’s 74 out of the number four position put it away for the Storm.
Although Bennett and Herman were a combined two-over for the tournament, the Longhorns also counted Parke Novak’s 87 and Gavin Fox’s 90 to finish at 323. Senior Angelo Chiarelli tied Johnson in fourth place with a 76 to lead Osceola High School to third place team finish at 349. The Kowboys also got an all-conference performance from Lawson Rafe, who finished in solo sixth place with an 80. St. Cloud (359), Poinciana (435) and Liberty (471) rounded out the team scores. Gateway did not have a team score (minimum of four players).
Herman, Bennett and Mouen battled down the wire for medalist honors in an event that was delayed mid-round for 45 minutes by a heavy downpour. Mouen got off to an extremely fast start, pouring in three birdies early to card a three-under 33 on the front side but faded with four bogeys on the back.
“I really had it going early but the rain got to me,” Mouen said. “We were only on the 12th hole when it started pouring and my grips and all my gloves were soaked. I just couldn’t seem to get back on track after the rain.”
Herman, Bennett, Mouen, Chiarelli, Johnson, Lawson and Sedwick are the all-conference team members (top seven).
There was little drama at the girls tournament Monday, where Harmony (347) easily outdistanced Osceola (416), Liberty (462), St. Cloud (476) and Celebration (485). Poinciana and Gateway did not have team scores.
“They had a really great day, which has been our game this season,” Horns Coach Robert Hainlen said.
Harmony’s Madison Wetzell (75) was the medalist, edging Liberty’s Alice Munn (77). Harmony’s Tia Lindsey (83), Osceola’s Meg Clancy (92), Harmony’s Christine Stevens (93) and Brooke Wetzel (96) and Osceola’s Brittney Calhoun (102) made the all-conference team (top seven).
District tournaments begin Monday.