A season quest has been attained for three area teams and two players competing as individuals in next week’s state high school golf tournament.
Among the special feats is Washington High senior Jade Sanders, who qualified for her first state tournament after being the low individual Tuesday amid difficult conditions at the Region 1-2A Tournament at Holiday Golf Club in Panama City Beach.
Sanders, who has grown up through the First Tee of Northwest Florida, had narrowly missed other chances in recent years. She will be joined by Pace High freshman Dina Weaver. Sanders shot an 84, Weaver an 86. In the boys competition, Gulf Breeze High won the team title and will advance, led by Nolan Remig’s even-par 72.
“It was grinding day,” said Pace girls coach Karl Jernigan. “The wind was probably blowing 15-20 mph off the Gulf and the greens were so immaculate, but lightning quick. There was water on that course on all but two holes. So when you look at the scores from this region, they may be higher than other regions in the state, but you had tough conditions with a tough course.
“It’s a great golf course there. It’s good to see two girls from our area going to state. I’m very excited for Jade. She played in the first group (top players) and she really scrambled well. And with Dina, she is one of two freshman with Elise Schultz on our team and they have alternated 1-2 all season.”
The Pace girls team finished third overall in this region behind winner Panama City Arnold and second place Fort Walton Beach High. Jade Sanders’ score was the second best among the players on those two top teams. Weaver had the third lowest among those two teams.
Also qualifying Tuesday was the Catholic High girls team and Niceville winning the Region 1-3A Tournament at Fleming Island near Jacksonville. All five Niceville players broke 80, led by sophomore Lauren Miller — former Divot Derby champion — and Kaide Farne. Both shot 2-under 70 as Niceville shot 291 as a team.
In that same region, Navarre senior Alisa Clark had an outstanding round, shooting a 75 at The Golf Club at Fleming Island, but was unable to qualify among the top two individuals. Her score would have advanced her to state in 21 of the 24 region tournaments Tuesday, but Region 1-3A is one filled with talented players.
For the first time in many years, the state golf tournament will be held at the same site, the Mission Inn and Resort near Orlando. Play starts Tuesday with the Class 1-A boys and girls teams, then concludes the following week with the Class 3A tournament.