Spotlight on | Golf

Gulliver duo ready to play Pebble Peach in Nature Valley First Tee Open

 

Scott Martinez and Michelle Rodriguez, both 15-year-old golfers from Gulliver Prep, will be playing Pebble Beach this weekend as part of the Nature Valley First Tee Open.

 
Gulliver Prep golfers Scott Martinez, left, and Michelle Rodriguez are shown.
Gulliver Prep golfers Scott Martinez, left, and Michelle Rodriguez are shown.

Special to the Miami Herald

Two of Miami-Dade’s young golfers are in California getting the highlight of their lives.

Scott Martinez and Michelle Rodriguez, both 15-year-olds from Gulliver Prep, will be playing Pebble Beach this weekend, a course many golfers have only dreamed about playing.

Not only will they be playing Pebble Beach, they will be playing alongside some of the PGA’s top pros in the Nature Valley First Tee Open. In addition, the event will be televised nationally on the Golf Channel.

Are the two youngsters awed? You bet they are.

“I’ve dreamed of this day, the day I’d be playing alongside a professional golfer in a televised tournament on one of the nicest courses in the United States,” Martinez said. “I can’t believe the dream became true.”

Said Rodriguez: “I feel privileged and honored. I’m very much looking forward to it.”

The two were nominated by the First Tee of Miami, one of 188 First Tee chapters throughout the country.

Earning the spot did take some work off the course, though.

According to Carol Miller of Miami’s First Tee, the two players were judged on their golf skills (boys need a six handicap or lower, and girls an eight handicap or lower), academics and character. They also had to write an essay.

HONDA INVITATIONAL

This could be a sign of things to come.

Many of the top high school teams in the state competed at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens on Friday and Saturday, and Plantation American Heritage swept the boys’ and girls’ titles.

The Heritage boys, considered one of the top teams in the country, repeated as champions, and the Heritage girls won for the third consecutive year.

The Heritage boys shot 589 to beat Lakewood Ranch of Bradenton by six shots. Jacksonville Bolles was third at 598. The Heritage girls shot 606 to win in a runaway by 22 strokes.

The boys played the course at 6,900 yards, and the girls played it at 6,000 yards.

Do not be surprised if American Heritage pulls off a sweep in the state high school championships this year.

“We are continuing to build the Honda Classic brand,” Honda Classic executive director Ken Kennerly said, “and at the same time we are growing our contribution to the junior golf world.”

STASI LEADS FLORIDA

Meghan Stasi of Oakland Park led Florida in the USGA State Women’s Team Championship in Kettering, Ohio. Stasi, a four-time national Mid-Amateur champion, shot 73-75-74—222 to lead Florida to a second-place finish, three strokes behind New Jersey. Alice Chen of New Jersey was medalist with a 213 total.

THAT’S A FACT, JACK

The odds of making two holes-in-one in a round of golf are one in 67 million. For the average golfer, more accurate odds would be “unachievable or off the board.”

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