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Lakewood Ranch High boys golfers earn silver medal at state tournament

Mustangs junior Parker Severs finished tied for second in the individual standings, while junior Henry Burbee finished fourth at the FHSAA Class 3A state tournament.

Lakewood Ranch High sophomore Max Colby Bendixen, junior Parker Severs, sophomore Josh Orgen, junior Henry Burbee and junior Luke Wilson sit with the FHSAA Class 3A boys golf runner-up trophy.
Lakewood Ranch High sophomore Max Colby Bendixen, junior Parker Severs, sophomore Josh Orgen, junior Henry Burbee and junior Luke Wilson sit with the FHSAA Class 3A boys golf runner-up trophy.
Courtesy image
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The Lakewood Ranch High boys golfers didn't use superstars like Rory McIlroy or Scottie Scheffler as their role models prior to their 2023 Florida High School Athletic Association Class 3A state tournament, held Nov. 10-11 at Mission Inn Resort and Club in Howey-in-the-Hills. 

Instead, they used Diana Nyad.

Nyad, the subject of the new Netflix movie "Nyad," swam from Havana, Cuba, to Key West without the aid of a shark cage at age 60 in 2013. It was 32 years after she first attempted the feat and failed. The swim, which is approximately 110 miles, took Nyad approximately 53 hours. 

Lakewood Ranch Head Coach Dave Frantz thought there was wisdom his team could take from Nyad's story — particularly after the Mustangs finished round one of the tournament with a combined score of 307, which was higher than the team is used to shooting. It landed them in fourth place, with a lot of ground to recover in round two. 

"(Nyad's story) is about perseverance, blocking out frustration and staying the course," Frantz said. "I think that didn't sink in too well on the first day, but we reiterated it on the second day. We talked about being committed to what we knew we were able to do." 

The Mustangs got the message. Lakewood Ranch shot a combined 299 in the second round (eight shots better than the first day) and finished with a 606 total, good for a second-place finish behind state champion Fleming Island High (583).

The Mustangs were two strokes better than third-place Dr. Phillips High (608). 

Individually, junior Parker Severs finished tied for second (70-73—143) and junior Henry Burbee finished tied for fourth (77-68—145). Fleming Island sophomore Tyler Mawhinney took the individual gold medal (68-72—140). 

Sophomore Max Colby Bendixen (78-79—157), sophomore Josh Orgen (83-79—162) and junior Luke Wilson (82-83—165) rounded out the Mustangs' lineup. The top four scorers counted each day. 

Frantz said he was proud of the way his team handled the course at Mission Inn, which is filled with trees planted when George O'Neil designed the course in 1917. 

"There are about four or five holes where you have to either hit it over or around these trees," Frantz said. "It's a challenge. You can't see where you want to hit the ball, so you are constantly anxious." 

Lakewood Ranch High junior boys golfer Parker Severs finished tied for seventh at the 2022 FHSAA state tournament and has higher goals in 2023.
Photo by Ryan Kohn

The morning after the tournament's conclusion, Severs was golfing again, getting in some practice at Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club with his family. Severs, who committed to the University of Florida on Oct. 9, said he was generally happy with his silver medal performance, crediting his wedges and his chipping with helping him score low. Severs said the Mission Inn course is tight off the tee, with steep hills — a rarity in Florida — that create lies most players are not used to seeing. 

The team's second-place finish at the state tournament is its best since it won the state championship in 2013. It finished fifth in 2022. 

With all five players in the state lineup returning to the program in 2024, the Mustangs figure to be a state title contender again.

Severs said a state title is "100%" the goal for next season, as he's determined to get one before he graduates. 

"We're going to have an older, experienced team," Severs said. "And the more you play (the Mission Inn course) the better you get at it."

Frantz said he's already looking forward to next season. 

"We have improved from 10th to fifth to second the last three years," Frantz said. "That's pretty good. Now they're going to go play junior events and get instruction and come back next year to try it again." 

Like Nyad, the Mustangs are determined to reach their goal. 



Ryan Kohn

Ryan Kohn is the sports editor for Sarasota and East County and a Missouri School of Journalism graduate. He was born and raised in Olney, Maryland. His biggest inspirations are Wright Thompson and Alex Ovechkin. His strongest belief is that mint chip ice cream is unbeatable.

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