There’s no doubt about it

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 9, 2009

BRANDON — Dressed in a black Nike shirt, black slacks and a black hat, Chris Ingram tried his best to look like Tiger Woods.

For two days, Ingram and the rest of his St. Aloysius teammates played like Tiger, too.

Led by Ingram, who shot a second-day 77 to earn medalist honors, St. Al had four of the top five finishers overall and cruised to its third consecutive Class 1A championship Friday at Bay Pointe Country Club. The Flashes carried a 41-stroke lead in the team standings into the final day of the tournament and ended up skunking second-place Thrasher by 99 strokes.

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Ingram, a sophomore, fired a two-day total of 151 to beat teammate Nick Mekus — an eighth-grader — by five strokes. St. Al’s John Lindigrin was third at 159, and Charles Marsalis was fifth with a total of 163. Cathedral’s Steve Scarborough edged Marsalis by one shot to finish fourth.

“It feels really good. We were so confident going into it that we weren’t worried. We weren’t under any pressure. If we all played semi-good, we’d win by 50 or 60 strokes,” Ingram said. “I didn’t have to think about what somebody was doing in some other group.”

Ingram got a little help when most of his closest challengers fell apart on Friday. But he ruled Bay Pointe from the get-go, and even their best effort might not have been enough.

Ingram shot a 2-under par 70 in a practice round on Wednesday, then followed it up with a 74 in Thursday’s first round. That gave him a two-stroke lead over Lindigrin heading into the final round. Ingram decided then that it was time to channel his inner Tiger. He broke out the all-black ensemble in an effort to intimidate the competition.

“I was thinking about wearing the shirt, and then I saw the pants in my closet. I thought I’d look slightly intimidating,” Ingram said with a chuckle. “I think the reason I was playing bad was, I was worrying about what I was wearing too much.”

Bad for Ingram was still better than everyone else, cleaning up his mistakes with clutch performances. He double bogeyed the first hole, but followed it up with birdies on Nos. 2 and 3. A bogey on the eighth hole and a triple bogey on the ninth were erased by birdies on Nos. 10 and 12.

By then, Lindigrin had fallen out of contention by bogeying the first seven holes. Scarborough was also on his way to an 83. Mekus, who started the day five shots back, made a charge with eight pars on the back nine but had too much ground to make up. That left Ingram all alone at the top, and not even shooting 4-over par on the last three holes could bring him back to the pack.

“I knew I was winning, because nobody else that could catch me was playing well,” Ingram said. “I crossed paths with (Lindigrin) around the fourth or fifth hole and he said he wasn’t playing well. That’s when I realized I just had to break 80 to win the tournament.”

This was a championship all of the Flashes shared in, however. With their superior depth, they romped the rest of the field the same way they had in winning six of eight tournaments during the regular season. Only a handful of other golfers were better than St. Al’s worst one in the state tournament. Alex Lanier’s low score of 180 was tossed out for the team competition, but it still put him in the top 10 in the individual standings.

Afterward, all five team members relaxed on a couch in the Bay Pointe clubhouse while the stragglers from other teams finished up. They ribbed each other about Lanier’s subpar round and Marsalis forgetting his clubs on Friday morning and barely making his tee time. Even the champ’s outfit and some off-color words of encouragement from his grandfather became the butt of a few jokes.

It was a scene of teammates, and friends, sharing in a moment they’ll remember for a lifetime.

“Somebody has a bad day and somebody is there to back us up,” Lindigrin, a senior, said. “This is a true team. The best true team we’ve had in a while. I’m going to miss it.”


Contact Ernest Bowker at