The sting was palpable.
For some more than others.
But to be sure, for each member of the Taft High golf team Monday, there was indisputable agony.
Taft, which held a nine-shot lead after one round of the City Section golf championships, stumbled home in the second and final round at Wilson Golf Course in Griffith Park, and blew the team crown in strange and painful fashion.
Granada Hills, which finished at 830, fired a solid second-round total of 411 to win the team title for the first time since 1984. Taft was second at 841.
There was misery aplenty for the Toreadors, who shot a second-round 431. Take top man Art Weiner, a hard-luck junior, for example. Weiner was the individual leader by four shots after firing a first-round 75 last week. Monday, he was tooling along the front nine with a five-shot lead over pre-tournament favorite Darren Angel of Granada Hills when bad luck struck in stereo.
While walking down the eighth hole Weiner was stung by two bees, one on each forearm, and let out a yelp that could be heard from the adjoining fairway. Within minutes, his arms had angry welts and his neck developed a rash.
Weiner's score swelled, too.
Weiner, one-over for the round before the attack, double-bogeyed the eighth and ninth holes, then bogeyed No. 10. Just like that, he and Angel were tied.
"It itches and it's numb," Weiner said, flashing a nasty patch of red on his abdomen. "I scratched right though (the skin) because I couldn't feel it."
Angel wasn't exactly feeling it either, but he was playing a solid, if unspectacular, round. Angel shot a two-over-par 74, the low round of the tournament, to finish at 154. With an 81, Weiner finished two strokes back. Scott Golditch of Taft fired his second consecutive 79 to finish third, four shots back.
Angel, a sophomore and one of Southern California's best junior players, didn't record a birdie in the 36-hole event, and only managed three one-putts. He did hit 13 greens in regulation Monday, however, and parred Nos. 3 through 15.
"I couldn't make a putt," Angel said. "I didn't want to go after anything and go blowing by the hole and have to make something long coming back."
His Granada Hills teammates made a comeback, no doubt about it. Trailing Taft by nine shots, Granada Hills' second-round charge was led by Leroy Bates, Keion Witherspoon and Brian Vranish, who each shot 84.
Taft was in contention for the team title until fifth man Josh Pauley experienced momentary dementia on the par-3 15th hole.
Pauley hit four consecutive shots out of bounds on the 15th, a relatively tame, 152-yard hole. Pauley said he shanked four seven-irons in a row, dead right, before his fifth mercifully remained in bounds.
"I shanked it, too, but it hit a tree and bounced back," Pauley said, who took a 10-over 13 on the hole.
"I told everybody on the tee, 'If anybody laughs, I'm gonna deck you,' " Pauley said.
Taft and Granada Hills advance to the Southern California Golf Assn. finals Monday at Stockdale Country Club in Bakersfield. Two-time defending champion Grant was third at 875 and did not qualify.
Even though Weiner was hurting--he was taken to the hospital immediately after completing his round, before he even signed his score card--he managed to persevere. In fact, on the back nine, he gave the heavily favored Angel everything the latter could handle.
Weiner and Angel were even heading into the 15th, when Weiner rammed home a 35-foot birdie putt to take a one-shot lead. Still tied on the 17th, Weiner hit his tee shot into a fairway bunker and could only move his second shot approximately 50 yards.
Angel, who left his balky driver in the bag all day, ripped a three-wood down the left side off the tee and made a par to take the lead.
Weiner, figuring he needed to make a birdie at the 18th to tie Angel and force a playoff, hit his second shot over the green and into a bunker. He blasted to within 10 feet but failed to make the par-saving putt, a point that was made moot when Angel made a four-footer for par seconds later.