Boys golf has a storied history at Saint Stephen’s that includes a pair of state championships, a trio of prep All-Americans, and a lengthy roster of successful collegiate and professional performers.
In 2000, Tyler Leon (pictured) led the Falcons to their first FHSAA state team title and carded rounds of 66 and 69 to capture the individual crown. Two years later, as a senior, Leon was named an All-American and signed with Oklahoma State, where he helped the Cowboys win the 2006 NCAA Championship. He went on to play professionally in 11 PGA Tour events.
The Falcons also won the state title in 2004, led by two-time team captain Michael Amato. Amato was runner-up for Florida player of the year honors that season and later starred at Brown University.
The list of prominent SSES alumni also includes All-Americans Leif Olson (1998) and Mike Barbosa (1999). Olson was a four-year team captain for the Falcons before attending Duke University. He was a key player with the Blue Devils before turning pro in 2004. Olson teed off in 23 PGA Tour events during his career. His best season came in 2009, when he made the cut five times, finished third in the Turning Stone Resort Championship, and earned more than $400,000. Barbosa starred at Georgia Tech and qualified to play in the U.S. Open as an amateur in 2011.
Other notable Falcons who have gone on to play in college include Sean Kelly (South Carolina), brothers Scott and Rick Lamb (Santa Clara), Ryan Benevides (Rice), Jordan Wycoff (Rider), Connor Lynch (Brown), and Jack Cen (Cornell).
Recent Saint Stephen’s teams have kept the tradition of excellence alive. The Falcons will be looking for their third straight regional championship and state tournament appearance in 2016. The 2015 team finished seventh in the state, led by senior Justin Wynen, who was one shot off the lead after the first day before ultimately finishing eighth.
The Falcons play their home tournaments at the Bradenton Country Club and have been coached by PGA Professional Matt Primrose since 2008. He has led SSES to four state tournament appearances – with a high finish of fifth – and is a two-time winner of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune High School Coach of the Year award, in 2009 and 2014.
Golf is FHSAA sanctioned and is a fall season sport.