HIGH SCHOOL GOLF
Roundup: Blue Wave's Dana books first trip to state
Published: Monday, October 21, 2013 at 9:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, October 21, 2013 at 9:29 p.m.
Kirsten Dana thought Monday would mean the end of her high school golf career.
After the P.K. Yonge senior shot 17 strokes over par at last week's district meet, Dana was certain her chance of advancing past the Class 1A, Region 2 girls tournament would quickly fade on the front nine of the Mark Bostick Golf Course at UF.
Instead, Dana began her round with a pair of birdies on her first eight holes and shot a 2-over 72 to finish tied with Oak Hall senior Taylor Tomlinson, the defending regional champion. Dana then edged Tomlinson, a Florida commitment, in a one-hole playoff to book her first trip to the state tournament.
“It's absolutely crazy,” Dana said. “I never thought this would happen ever. I figured that I would come in third today, and this would be it. But my senior year, I get to go to state, so that's pretty exciting.”
Following her even-par performance on the front nine, Dana held a three-shot lead over Tomlinson, who struggled early on after posting a scorching 64 total to win last week's District 6-1A title at Haile Plantation Golf and Country Club.
Tomlinson rebounded with a 1-under 34 on the back nine but could not match Dana's effective putting in the one-hole playoff.
“I was really hoping to go low and shoot a really low number, but I've been struggling with my swing the last few days and I was happy with the way I managed it,” Tomlinson said. “I've just been a little out-of-sync. Working on a couple things put me in a bad tempo, but once I get it straightened out I think I'll be good for state.”
As the top-2 individual competitors, both Dana and Tomlinson advance to next Tuesday's Class 1A Finals in Lady Lake at Harbor Hills Golf Course.
Oak Hall senior Caroline Holloway finished in a three-way tie for sixth place overall with her round of 79. Holloway was runner-up at last week's district match and missed out on a trip to the state tournament for just the second time in her career.
“I'm sad, but it's just been an amazing seven years,” Holloway said. “We've gone to the state championships, as a team, five times in the last seven years. … It's just been amazing. Aside from the success, just the dynamic we had as a team was phenomenal and that's what I'm going to miss the most.”
With neither P.K. Yonge nor Oak Hall competing as a full team, Jacksonville Providence claimed the overall Region 2 title with a 306 total. The Stallions were led by Emily Uhland, who finished just one stroke behind Dana and Tomlinson for third place overall. Runner-up Jacksonville Episcopal scored a 388 to also qualify for the state tournament as a team.
While Dana is making her first appearance for the Blue Wave at next week's state tournament, Tomlinson said she's familiar with Harbor Hills' par-72 course. Last year in Lady Lake, the Eagles' top golfer finished in a three-way tied for 12th overall behind a two-day, 36-hole total of 154.
“(Tomlinson) doesn't have to do anything special,” said Oak Hall coach John Ives, who was Monday's Region 2 tournament director. “She really doesn't. She'll practice on it once, and she's basically a very good golfer with very good mechanics and ability and she'll use it. She's got a chance to win state without any question.”
Region 2-1A: The St. Francis boys team will also be making its first trip to the state finals after finishing runner-up to Jacksonville Episcopal at The Golf Club at South Hampton in St. Augustine.
Led by Drew Bokowy's round of 77, the Wolves advanced to next Tuesday's Class 1A Finals in Tavares behind their 319 team total, which was eight strokes behind the regional host Eagles.
Brian Stockman also posted a low round for St. Francis with a 79. Jacksonville Providence's Sam Uhland shot a 69 to advance to the state meet with individual medalist honors.