Here’s a roundup of district golf tournaments involving Pensacola-area teams being played on Monday, October 25.
Meeting Districts 1-2A
Competing in Tuesday’s Districts 1-2A meet in wet and lousy conditions, Pensacola’s Gabby Hultstrand found solace in whoever she was playing with.
The Tigers sophomore was grouped with Booker T. Washington senior Sydney Lane and West Florida rookie Abby Vernier as the three No. 1 players from their respective schools attacked the Scenic Hills golf course in Pensacola.
“It was fun. It was a long round and the weather made it tough, but I enjoyed my playing partners,” Hultstrand said.
At the end of a day that started at 10:30 a.m. and ended around six hours later, Hultstrand, Lane and Vernier each played well enough to qualify for next week’s Region 1-2A encounter.
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Vernier led the group shooting an 80 over 18 holes to place third. Hultstrand was one stroke behind in fourth while Lane scored an 84 to finish tied for sixth.
With its top four golfers shooting below 100, Fort Walton Beach won the district title after posting a team score of 343.
The Vikings were led by an impressive round from Juliana Hock. The junior was the only player on the field not to shoot over par. His score of 72 was enough to earn a three-stroke win over Arnold senior Ridah September.
Forty-one strokes off the pace, the Marlins (384) finished second in the district while South Walton (404) placed third.
Those three teams will advance to Regionals, which begin at 8:00 a.m. CST Tuesday from Quail Heights Country Club in Lake City. They will be joined by Hultstand, Lane and Vernier, who clinched their tickets as the top three of the unqualified teams on Tuesday.
While Hultstrand and Lane each go back and forth at this stage, Vernier, the youngest of the three, will make her regional debut.
“Meeting new people is so much fun for me,” the Jaguars rookie said. “I like to talk with other golfers, see where they’re from, what schools they go to, (ask them) how school is going. … I like meeting new people and new coaches. ”
The band started their day on the par-4 sixth hole.
Lane was the first to birdie after nearly sinking an eagle putt on the No. 7. From there, as the rain intensified, the Wildcats senior battled through an up-and-down round down, topping three double bogeys to make the cut.
“It was torture,” she laughs. “My knees are really hurting at the moment, but it paid off in the end. I made it and I’m happy to be here.
“I just had to keep my head up. You can’t really look at the wrong side. If you have a bad hole, be crazy for 10 seconds and move on because there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Lane, who will be making his third regional appearance, said his tee shots were the strongest part of a day when the wind and rain made it difficult to keep drives straight.
Players spent 10-15 minutes longer on a given hole than on a normal round due to the elements. Additionally, golfers had to adjust their stances before a shot and pay more attention to their swings to avoid collapsing while struggling to grip their clubs.
“There are a lot more factors to consider in bad weather,” Hultstrand said. “You need to get ready and bring an extra glove. I swapped gloves about eight holes into the round.”
Hultstrand birdied the second and fifth holes. Meanwhile, Vernier played his best golf on the back nine, shooting a 37. The Jaguars rookie had three birdies and three pars on a sixth-hole streak.
“I picked myself up on the last five holes. I was really like, ‘I have nothing to lose right now, I’m just going to take some risky shots.’ And I did,” she said. “I executed them pretty well. My chipping and putting really helped while some of my approach shots got better throughout the round.”
West Florida (414) was the region’s top-ranked team in fourth, followed by Pensacola (444) and Escambia (572).
Elsewhere, Pine Forest’s Sarah Rudd made the top 10. The Eagles junior placed eighth after shooting an 88.
Team Scores – Top Three
1. Fort Walton Beach (343): Juliana Hock – 72, Kazz Payne – 84, Aaliyah Millie – 88, Piper Lindsley – 99, Boston McGhee – 103
2. Arnold (384): Ridah September – 75, Camille Seiffer – 88, Marigrace Creel – 105, Tarver Loyed – 116, Jolie Venable – 119
3. South Walton (404): Ava Knight – 83, Vivian Harrison – 91, Lauren Cress – 109, Michelle Steinberger – 121, Presley Gordon – 127
Team Scores – Zone Finishers
4. West Florida (414): Abby Vernier – 80, Josephine Milhiser – 98, Daley Joyner – 103, Jaden Lee – 133, Jazz Hubbart – 137
5. Pensacola (444): Gabrielle Hultstrand – 81, Kaylee Nguyen – 113, Mary McAuley – 120, Molly Amjad – 130, Reena Lin – 135
6. Escambia (572): Alyssa Ball-Armstrong – 134, Cameron Fields – 138, Jayla Pearson – 149, Olivia Mills – 151
For the second year in a row and the fifth time in six years, Pensacola Catholic is the class in its district.
With three of the top five, the Crusaders topped the standings with a team score of 312 from Eagle Springs Golf Course in DeFuniak Springs. Walton (329) placed second and Holmes County (383) was third.
Catholic is also home to the weak medalist as senior David Chavez and junior Evan Covington each completed 18 holes in 76 strokes. In the end, Chavez repeated as the District 1-1A individual champion.
Elsewhere for the Crusaders, senior RJ White (78) placed fifth while senior Asher Nissim (82) and sophomore Hudson Mitchell (84) finished seventh and eighth respectively.
Northview is another area team that had a good day. The Chiefs totaled a score of 397 to claim fourth place.
Caden Pocopanni has the team’s best performance as he birdied a few en route to 87. The Northview junior shot a 47 on the front nine before limiting his errors to a 40 on the back nine.
Thanks to his efforts, Pocopanni secured a place at the regionals next week. The Region 1-1A meet is Monday at 7 a.m. CST from the Marsh Landing Country Club in Jacksonville.
Team Scores – Top Three
1. Pensacola Catholic (312): David Chavez – 76, Evan Covington – 76, RJ White – 78, Asher Nissim – 82, Hudson Mitchell – 84
2. Walton (329): Cooper Douglass – 77, Cole Dover – 77, Brantley Betts – 87, Jackson Ingram Clemmons – 88, Brody McCormick – 90
3. Holmes County (383): Seth Crutchfield – 85, Tanner Steele – 91, Nate Tate – 102, Lyndan Flanary – 105, Talon Davis – 131
Team Scores – Zone Finishers
4. Northview (397): Caden Pocopanni – 87, Luke Godwin – 95, Jack Boutwell – 99, Jayden White – 116, Tyler Gilmore – 142
7. Jay (426): Ty Posey – 97, Mason Allen – 101, Tucker Harp – 112, Ayden Sowers – 116, Tucker Nowling – 117
11. Central (N/A): Ethan Ennis – 113, Matthew Franklin – 116, Braylon Corn – 122, Aidan Roberson – Incomplete, Luke Franklin – 160
Patrick Bernadeau is a sports reporter for the Pensacola News Journal. He can be reached at (850) 503-3828, on Twitter @PatBernadeau or by email at [email protected]