HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS -- The wind seemed to bother just about everyone at the state golf tournaments contested on three courses in Central Florida on Tuesday. The only people seemingly not blown away by the windy conditions were Broward County golfers, who put on an impressive performance on the first day of the two-day tournament.
Plantation American Heritage, as might be expected considering its golf tradition, led the Broward onslaught with both the boys’ and girls’ teams atop the standings in the Class 1A tournaments held at the Mission Inn Resort & Club at Howey-in-the-Hills.
The Heritage boys, with 10th-grader Jorge Garcia shooting a 1-over-par 73 and fellow 10th-grader Kristian Caparros checking in one stroke back, was 12 shots ahead of Palm Beach Gardens Benjamin heading into Wednesday’s final round.
The Heritage girls, led by Claudia De Antonio’s 3-over 75, held a three-stroke lead over Windermere Prep.
Have Heritage boys’ coach Brandt Moser and girls’ coach Linda Sibio talked beforehand about pulling a boys-girls sweep?
“Of course, we’ve talked about it,” Sibio said with a smile. “But we don’t want to jinx it. We talk about it quietly. But wouldn’t that be great if it happened.”
Sibio said her team’s consistency helped overcome winds that gusted above 30 mph.
“Consistency is what we strived for all year,” Sibio said. “The girls played smart golf today, and I’m very proud of them. I told them if they get in trouble on a hole, don’t get into more trouble and make it worse. And on this course you can get into trouble.”
As for the boys’ team, Moser said, “Under the conditions, it was a very solid day. The kids had to fight for every single stroke. I’ve never seen a round with wind conditions this bad. This is a man’s course, a big boys’ course.”
Garcia agreed and said he was proud of his 73.
“I hit the ball solidly,” he said. “One-over on this course today — that’s a great score.”
Adding to Broward’s first-day laurels was a 1-under 71 by Carly Goldstein of Coral Glades High. That score on the Harbor Hills Country Club Course in Lady Lake gave her a one-stroke lead in the Class 2A individual competition.
“I got a lot out of my round,” said Goldstein, a senior who will sign with LSU in the coming weeks. In fact, she intends on getting a head start on her college experience by attending Saturday’s LSU-Alabama game.
And she knows her dorm room would look much nicer if she can decorate it with a state championship trophy.
Her plan for Wednesday’s final round: “Just go out and play my game,” she said. “If I focus on myself, it should work. I just need to focus on myself and getting the job done.”
She doesn’t plan on being nervous. “I pretty much go into every tournament thinking I can win. You have to think that way.”
Other strong Broward performances Tuesday included Sam Madsen of Cardinal Gibbons shooting a 4-over 76 in boys’ Class 1A; the Cypress Bay girls’ team, led by Valentina Haupt’s 6-over 78, holding down the No. 2 team position in Class 2A; and Michael Heda of Cypress Bay shooting a 7-over 79 in Class 2A boys.