Former American Heritage Plantation golfer T.J. Vogel is one of six amateurs competing against the world’s best at this week’s Masters at Augusta National Golf Club.
The 22-year-old University of Florida senior qualified with a victory at the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship last July, which is reserved for golfers who play on public — not private — courses.
“If you know T.J. and how hard he works and the time he gave to be a better golfer, I’ve never had a kid more deserving of winning the public tournament and getting a look at the Masters,” said Brandt Moser, his former high school coach. “He’s a tireless workhorse and sacrificed a great deal to get where he’s at.”
As a freshman at Southern California, Vogel earned NGCA Freshman All-American, NCAA West Region and All-Pac-10 first team honors as well as a nod as Pac-10 Co-Freshman of the Year. He transferred to UF his junior year.
Moser thinks Vogel may be either the first or second Broward County players to compete at the Masters. Vogel was once ranked the second-best prep golfer in the 2008-09 class.
On Sunday, he played a round with Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker. His father Joe, Florida International’s women’s golf coach and a longtime PGA member, will be his caddy.
Earlier this week Vogel tweeted: “#Masters time! Dream come true. thanks to all my family and friends, wouldn’t have been possible without your support. #blessed #bigdreams.”
“Getting in the Masters is the Holy Grail of golf,” Moser said. “It’s very hard to earn your way into the Masters, especially as an amateur. It’s a pretty special opportunity.”
TRACK & FIELD
The biggest makeover for North Broward star hurdler and Abercrombie and Fitch model Kayla Burke has taken place on the track with a new take-charge mentality.
A season removed from overthinking her steps between the hurdles and how the competition was faring beside her, a supremely confident Burke will be in attack mode at the District 14-2A championships at Coral Springs High School on Thursday.
“When running the hurdles, you can’t be friendly with them,’’ Burke said. “I used to have a slow momentum going over them. Just to run and jump. Now its straight aggression. If I hit a hurdle, oh well it is going to break. I have just gained an anger and adrenaline rush in the hurdles I didn’t have before.”
Burke, who is ranked No. 3 in Class 2A in the 100 hurdles (14.74) and No. 2 in the 300 hurdles (44.68), will need all the aggression she can summon against a longtime adversary in American Heritage’s Khadeeja Dooling, who is ranked No. 2 in the 100 (14.60) and No. 1 in the 300 hurdles (44.31).
Districts marks an intriguing three-week run between the rivals that should culminate at the Class 2A state finals on April 27 at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville.
Burke is seeking her fourth state appearance but first in the 100 hurdles, her favorite event, following a series of heartbreaks. As a sophomore, Burke missed out on a qualifying state berth by one-tenth of a second, and last season she was disqualified at the Region 4-2A championships for wearing jewelry.
Marlon Malcolm, Burke’s personal coach, said the bitter disappointment of not qualifying in the 100 hurdles provided the impetus for Burke’s transformation from “the hunted” to “the hunter.”