The District 2A-21 girls golf tournament more or less set up as the Barron Collier High School Cougars against themselves.
Barron Collier was a heavy favorite coming in and didn’t disappoint, shooting a 324 to win by a whopping 51 strokes at Vineyards Country Club’s South on Monday.
The Cougars’ Annika Church shot a 78 to earn medalist honors, and teammates Makenzie Hotchkiss (80), Kelly Newbrough (82) and Alexandra Tomodan (84) finished in the top five.
Church originally wasn’t happy with her round until she saw her score and where it put her. She had struggled with her chipping, usually a strong suit, but kept her round going by making putts.
“I was like ‘Wow, I threw so many shots away’ but actually now I look over it, I played really well today,” she said. “I’m actually proud of what I’ve done today.”
“She played well again,” Barron Collier coach Richie Packish said. “We’ve been working on a little bit of a different swing thought and a little stronger grip. It’s changed her trajectory. She’s got a new driver and a new fairway wood and she’s gained some distance with it.”
Packish knows Monday’s performance may not be enough for the team’s ultimate goal — to get back to the state tournament. The Cougars, Estero, and Naples High finished in the top three to advance to the Region 2A-7 at Golf Hammock Golf Club in Sebring next Tuesday.
“It’s off to the next round,” Packish said. “The next one’s a big one.”
“We’re real happy,” Church said. “We came here to kill and we did.”
The Cougars returned just about everybody from last year and have had another strong season, but Packish isn’t sure they’ve hit their peak. When one player is hot, everyone else is good, but they haven’t had a tournament where everyone has been playing well.
“I would say for this year, 324 has been kind of our average 18-hole round,” he said. “The girls today know they played well below their abilities. … Today they persevered. They weren’t swinging as well as they have, but they never gave up. That’s kind of the way their season has gone. They’re not really where they want to be and they’ve worked through it.
“… This week it was Annika. The next week it was Makenzie. Another week it’s Kelly. Last week it was obviously Alexandra. I feel good where each girl, especially Alexandra, is right now.”
Estero shot a 375, led by sophomores Kelli Kragh (82) and Kim Egozi (84), to edge Naples by five strokes for second place. Freshman Vivian Guite led the Eagles with an 87 to finish seventh overall, and teammate Isabella Dorobanti shot a 91 to place eighth.
“Our goal coming into this was to finish second,” Estero coach Norm Heyboer said. “I thought it was a realistic goal for my team. My Nos. 3 and 4 (MacKenzie Brown and Richlyn Radcliff) actually played really well and gave us a shot to get out of this. I’m very, very proud of them and very proud of this team.”
Kragh had quite the following, with her parents and grandparents watching her, and Estero’s principal and athletic director were out, too.
“There were a lot of supporters were out there watching me,” Kragh said. “I kept plugging all day … I’m proud of my team — very proud of my team. It’s amazing (to advance) and I really hope to go to states this year. I wanted to go last year and we were so close.”
Palmetto Ridge’s Megan Pagan (92) and Golden Gate’s Marion Germain (103) and Alexis Davis (105) advanced as the top three individuals not on a qualifying team.
Class 2A-District 21 tournament
at Vineyards Country Club
Barron Collier 324, Estero 375, Naples 380, Palmetto Ridge 457, Golden Gate 463, Immokalee 566, Lely 622
1. Annika Church (BC) 78; 2. Makenzie Hotchkiss (BC) 80; 3. Kelly Newbrough (BC) 82; 3. Kelli Kragh (E) 82; 5. Alexandra Tomodan (BC) 84; 5. Kim Egozi (E) 84; 7. Vivian Guite (N) 87; 8. Isabella Dorobanti (N) 91; 9. Megan Pagan (PR) 92; 10. Aly Packish (BC) 97
Individuals advancing to regionals
Megan Pagan (PR) 92, Marion Germain (GG) 103, Alexis Davis (GG) 105
Individual team results
Barron Collier: Church 78, Hotchkiss 80, Newbrough 82, Tomodan 84
Estero: Kragh 82, Egozi 84, MacKenzie Brown 104, Richlyn Radcliff 105
Naples: Guite 87, Dorobanti 91, Daniella Brito 100, Virginia Axline 102
Palmetto Ridge: Pagan 92, Kayla Morrison 113, Meredith Dattilo 120, Ashley Watts 132
Golden Gate: Germain 103, Davis 105, Stefany De La Osa 124, Ashley Alverez 131
Immokalee: Leeann Campbell 132, Mia Gallegos 138, Jillian Rodriguez 146, Jada Holidiness 150, Ashley Revulurio 154
Lely: Aileen Duarte 148, Diana Antoine 158, Nicole Hallinan 158, Betsy Hernandez 158, Jasmine Lopez 158
Anahi Hernandez (East Lee County) 131