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Darton gets off to slow start

Darton's Joe Sakulpolphaisan is in second place in the Titan Invitational.

Darton's Joe Sakulpolphaisan is in second place in the Titan Invitational.

MELBOURNE, Fla. — So much for fast starts and auspicious beginnings.

Darton’s golf team wanted both on Monday when the Cavaliers opened their spring season in the Titan Invitational in Florida.

The usually high Melbourne winds were down, and the weather was great, but none of that helped Darton, which stumbled out of the blocks and after playing two rounds of the three-round tournament, sits in fifth place in the 14-team field.

“We’re pretty disappointed,’’ said Darton coach Bill Jones III. “We feel we were playing well coming up to the tournament, but we didn’t play well. We had three practice rounds and everybody seemed to be playing well. We expected a better result.’’

It could have been worse.

Joe Sakulpolphaison shot a one-over 73 to open the tournament, and then fired a four-under 68 in the second round and sits in second place at three-under. Shad Tuten wasn’t far behind. Tuten opened with a 69 and then shot a 76 in the second round, which was good enough for fifth place.

“Joe did what we expected him to do,’’ Jones said. “Shad is in fifth. Those two did what No. 1 and No. 2 players are supposed to do.’’

Then the Cavaliers went south as the next three golfers had forgettable days to start the new season.

Robert Robertson shot an 82 and 75 as the No. 3 golfer.

Austin McNeill was 11-over after shooting rounds of 79 and 76. The fifth golfer, Chase Jones, opened with a 78 and then shot a 76 and is at 10 over.

“Our problem was our 3, 4 and 5 golfers,’’ Jones said. “You can’t have rounds of 75 and 76, and we had three shoot that. When you have three guys who don’t play well in the first round and four who didn’t play well in the second round you are not going to do well. We had only one player have two good rounds and that was Joe.’’

Jones knows his kids can play better.

“We’ve got two freshmen (Robertson and Jones ) who are making freshmen mistakes. But even with only two good rounds (Tuten’s 69 stood out), we are still in fifth place,’’ he said.

Brevard leads the field at 578, and Florida Tech (580), St. Leo (588) and Webber International (592) are all ahead of Darton, which shot a 594.

Darton is a powerhouse every year, and Jones, who took over the program in the fall, thinks that may be part of the equation that hurt the Cavaliers on Monday.

“Maybe they put too much pressure on themselves,’’ he said. “Maybe we put too much pressure on them. They wanted to do so well, maybe they did add pressure. We’re going to talk about that.’’