HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS -- On a day when winds were gusting to more than 30 mph, Ransom Everglades golf coach Scott Jones was keeping his golf cap firmly on his head.
And it wasn’t that the cap might be blown away that was worrying him. What was under the cap concerned him even more — his hair dyed pink.
Going into regional competition, Jones made a deal with his girls’ team. If they each broke 80 at regional, he would dye his hair pink for the state tournament. Pretty safe bet, thought Jones. However, he went from being pretty safe to just being pretty in pink.
“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I’ll be darn if they all didn’t break 80 at regionals.”
Jones’ team, led by sophomore Chloe Horton with a 9-over-par 81, held down eighth place after the first day of the two-day Class 1A state tournament at Mission Inn Resort & Club at Howey-in-the-Hills. Some 35 strokes behind leader Plantation American Heritage in the team standings, the Raiders won’t win the state title but they are making their presence felt.
In Tuesday’s windy conditions, joining Horton as the four counting Ransom scores were junior Alix Hamilton (84), 10th-grader Carolina Garrett (86) and 10th-grader Katie Hanley (89). With his top four players all underclassmen, the future looks good for Jones and the Raiders.
But that future, according to Jones, will not include another bet.
“I’ve learned my lesson,” he said. “This whole time up here I’ve been wearing my cap quite a bit. I’m afraid to take it off.”
Who did the dye job?
“I did it myself,” Jones said of his hair. “I found some crazy temporary stuff.”
Why not let the girls do it?
“No way,” he said. “They would probably use permanent dye rather than the temporary stuff.”
To make it to state, Ransom had to beat rival Carrollton at regionals, a school they lost to by 13 strokes during the regular season.
At regionals, Jones said his team reversed the role, beating Carrollton by 13 strokes. “They turned it around real good,” he said.
Jones said he was impressed with his team’s performance Tuesday.
“For sure, I’m proud. The wind was real tough,” he said. “The back nine is real difficult and the front nine is wide open with all this wind. They didn’t have a picnic on either side.
“They kept fighting and fighting. I told them to play like it was the U.S. Open and just try to make pars and maybe a birdie will occasionally show up.”
In Class 2A, Columbus’ boys ranked 12th of 16 teams, 22 strokes behind leader Bradenton Lakewood Ranch. The Explorers were led by junior Eddie Martinez with a 79. Contributing to the Explorers’ team score was Julio Betancourt (81), Christian Melendez (84) and Juan Yumar (87).
Other notable Dade performances included Carrollton’s Tanya Eathakotti, a seventh-grader, shooting an 89 in girls’ Class 1A; Gulliver Prep’s Anthony Infante, a senior, shooting an 80 in boys’ Class 1A; Palmetto’s Molly Barlow, a senior, shooting an 87 in girls’ Class 2A; and Belen Jesuit’s Oscar Cabanas, a senior, shooting an 88 in boys’ Class 2A.