Fleming Island High’s golf team has had the firepower of senior Colton Swartz as the lead guy for the past two years, but the Golden Eagles have been getting tough finishes from a pair of new faces …
Fleming Island High’s golf team has had the firepower of senior Colton Swartz as the lead guy for the past two years, but the Golden Eagles have been getting tough finishes from a pair of new faces as freshmen Tyler Mawhinney and Ryan Houch have stamped out some low scores in recent matches.
“We are pretty strong top to bottom and that’s a good thing when one golfer has a bad day, we don’t lose a lot of ground,” said Fleming Island coach Bruce Cloud, after the Golden Eagles edged the Ponte Vedra High defending 3A state champions on September 12 at the Randy Warren Invitational then went toe-to-toe with those same Sharks nine days later in a second place finish at the Fletcher Invitational at the Atlantic Beach Country Club. “Those young guys have a great senior up top that can show them how to handle the big pressure situations and they are quick learners.”
Though Ponte Vedra (3A champs, now 2A) is no longer a district, nor region opponent for Fleming Island (3A), the chase to use the Sharks as bait for preparation for a second Golden Eagle state run is definitely on Swartz mind. Additionally, Ponte Vedra’s top finisher in both invitationals, Camden Smith, a transfer from Circle Christian (3rd in 1A 2021) this year, has been the thorn that Swartz and the Fleming Island team has had to see in the invitationals. Smith won both the Randy Warren and Fletcher events with Swartz second by a stroke at the Warren event. Swartz, with six bogies against five birdies, tied for 12th at Fletcher. Smith won again by one stroke at Fletcher with a four under par 67 with two behind him at 68; Miles Russell of Providence (8th grader) and Cody Tucker of Bishop Kenny (Sr) both with 68s. Swartz finished with a one over par 72 with Mawhinney at 73, falling from a first nine 35 to a second nine 38. Ryan Houck, junior Jaylen Abbas and sophomore Dylan Frein both shot 74s.
With the tight group of finishes, Fleming Island finished second to Ponte Vedra, 279-293 with a one stroke finish over Bolles at third place.
In the 3A ranks and, more specifically district 3-3A where Fleming Island is, Nease was at 302, Fletcher at 302, Bartram Trail at 313 and Atlantic Coast at 317.
In the teams at Fletcher, a high-tier gathering, Providence, Bishop Kenny, Fletcher, Episcopal and Nease
“After our state run two years ago, we kind of blew it at districts the following year,” said Swartz. “These guys were not part of that and that might be good. They just play tough.”
Fleming Island Golf Club will host that district championship on October 26 with the region tournament still undetermined.
In girls action, Clay High senior Taylor Young has rattled off three straight sub-40; 37, 38, 38, nine hole rounds to have the hot hand as district tournaments approach.
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