TAMPA — Heading into her final regular-season nine-hole round, Plant City senior Kellyanne Hurst said she had a little nostalgia in her heart as she hit the tee box at Tampa Palms on Thursday. However, her main feeling was a desire to make her mark — or maybe more appropriately, best the mark of Raiders’ girls golf coach Meg Jordan, who holds the school record of a nine-hole 33.
“I said before the round I was going to break the record, but that didn’t happen,” Hurst said. “It’s just so beneficial to have a coach like (Jordan) out here. Some teams have their librarians as coaches but coach Meg is really able to help us with the game, she knows it so well.”
Hurst came up just shy of the mark, carding a 2 under on the day to lead all scorers and set a personal high school best with a 34. Plant City (10-2) got a 37 from Kaylee McIntosh as they topped Freedom (9-3) 164-166. The Patriots were led by junior Terese Romeo (38) and senior Megan Pollenz (40).
Hurst, who had four birdies and two bogeys in the round, said she hopes to impart her wisdom from two previous trips to the state tournament with her current teammates as they head into the postseason.
“There are a ton of people watching you tee off on that first hole (at state) and it’s like oh my goodness this is a lot of pressure,” Hurst said. “But you have to realize it’s not about them or the other girls, it’s about doing what you have to do and worrying about yourself.”
In boys action, Plant City senior William George had a pair of birdies and two bogeys to finish at 36, but Freedom won the team round with a 163-169 advantage. Freedom was led by senior Jimmy Jones (38).
NEWSOME PLACES SECOND: Newsome got another look at last year’s Class 2A state champ, Lakewood Ranch (both now compete in the newly formed 3A) in the Vinoy Classic. The Wolves finished in second at 291, while Lakewood Ranch won with a 284. Tyler Bakich led the Wolves with a par 71, while John Michael Coultas turned in a 72, Kyle West shot a 73 and Mark Nauert carded a 75. The tournament may serve as a region preview as Newsome and Lakewood Ranch, along with Sarasota Riverview (296), could be battling for the state qualifying spots.