By Ivan Lambert Ledger correspondent
Lakeland — Bartow senior Brady Godwin missed a short putt on the last hole, thinking it might have hurt his chances.
Godwin played well enough, shooting even-par 72, to win the 2016 Polk County Boys Golf Invitational on Tuesday at Cleveland Heights.
Because of heavy rain, the fairways were quite soft, providing no roll at all for the players. Players were permitted to lift, clean and place, and the excess moisture also made chipping around the greens difficult on several holes. Godwin, however, still managed three birdies and three bogeys during his round and was the only golfer to not finish over par.
“I hit it well today, I really did” he said. “I drove well and hit most of my irons well too. I had some real makeable putts and really had a chance to go a few shots lower, but I am happy with 72 and that I got the win.”
Godwin is looking to play college golf next year and is leaning toward Florida Southern.
Godwin’s teammate Bryce Walker was the runner-up finishing with a 74.
“I hit my driver really well and my irons were consistent today, hitting most greens” Walker said. “I just couldn’t make the putts I needed. In all, I did hit most of my clubs well.”
McKeel’s Colin Kresl, the defending champion who shot 62 last yer, had a tough start but was able to settle down. He finished strong and was third with 3-over 75.
“I started really rough early with several bogeys” Kresl said. “I knew I had to calm down, so I told myself positive things like, ‘You are a good golfer.'”
Kresl has verbally committed to UCF and plans to sign with the Knights in November.
Mckeel’s Steven Phelps and Will Trimble tied for fourth, each carding a 4-over-par 76, giving the Wildcats three of the top five medalists. That was more than enough to give McKeel the small school team title with a 307. All Saints was a distant second with a 330.
“We have a senior-heavy team and this is nice to get some momentum going into Districts and Regionals” McKeel coach Matt Francis said. “Some of these seniors we have had since they were in sixth grade; we’d love to make it to state again with them.”
George Jenkins shot 322 to win the large school title. The Eagles were led by Joel Johnson, who shot 78. Bartow was third at 339.