Simply qualifying for Florida’s high school state golf championship tournament is an achievement in itself.
It’s an opportunity reserved for just 48 teams of boys and 48 teams of girls across three classifications.
The championship tournament also is open to individual qualifiers.
Hundreds competed, out of thousands of prep golfers — in an opportunity to showcase their skills among the state’s elite.
Three teams and three individuals from The Laker/Lutz News coverage area had the chance to show off their skills at the 2021 Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) state golf championships, from Nov. 9 through Nov. 17.
The event took place at Mission Inn Resort & Club, in Howey-in-the-Hills.
Boys competed at the Lake County resort’s 6,764-yard par-72 El Campeon course. Girls took on the 5,455-yard, par-72 Las Colinas course.
The most notable showing came from Cypress Creek High School’s varsity golf program, in the Class 2A state tournament.
The boys squad finished sixth among 16 teams, while the girls program finished seventh, also among 16 teams.
The Coyotes boys are coached by Dennis Martin, while the girls are coached by Rob Patterson.
Cypress Creek sophomore Connor Newbold recorded the best score among all local golfers — carding a 5-over par across two rounds (74-75 — 149) to finish fifth out of 95 golfers in the 2A event.
The only golfers who topped Newbold in the 2A tournament were Broward American Heritage’s Luke Clanton (72-69—141), Tampa Jesuit’s Carter Dill (69-77 — 146) and Andrew Siffert (77-70 — 147) and Delray Beach American Heritage’s Jason Shwartz (71-77 — 148).
Other Cypress Creek boys golfers included Daniel Polce (tied 30th, +18), Trey Sasser (tied 66th, +32), Joaquin Parrilla (tied 70th, +34) and Levi Wade (93rd, +58).
Meantime, the Cypress Creek girls were paced by junior Carmen Phousirith, who shot a 16-over par across 36 holes (78-82 — 160) to finish 17th among 96 golfers in the 2A competition.
Her teammates included Tiffany Colin (tied 24th, +19), Annamarie Ratican (tied 37th, +27), Addison Noll (91st, +81) and Jillian Scott (94th, +89).
The state tournament otherwise wrapped up a strong season for both Cypress Creek squads, as the girls team won district and regional titles, and the boys won a district title and were regional runner-up.
The other area team that qualified for the state golf meet was the Sunlake High School varsity girls, who finished 10th(out of 16 schools) in the 3A event.
Sophomore Alyssa Mixon paced the Seahawks with a 7-over par across two rounds (72-79 — 151), earning her a tie for seventh place with Naples Gulf Coast freshman Ann-Sophie Bourgault.
Golfers who finished ahead of Mixon and Bourgault in 2A, in order, were, Lake Mary’s Izzy Pellot (64-71 — 135), Forest’s Haley Davis (69-72 — 141), Lake Mary’s Ryleigh Knaub (72-72 — 144), Niceville’s Gracie Grant (72-76 — 148), St. Cloud’s Morgan Beaulieu (73-75 — 148) and Niceville’s Peyton Maraman (72-77 — 149).
Sunlake senior Taylor Zachary wasn’t far behind.
She shot a 9-over par (76-77 — 153), good enough for an 11th place tie with Orlando Dr. Phillips sophomore Elan Zhang.
Other Seahawks golfers included Hailey Stricker (tied 76th, +53), Helena Potter (tied 88th, +53) and Hannah Mathis (92nd, +61).
Besides team play, there were three individual qualifiers from The Laker/Lutz News coverage area.
Carrollwood Day School seventh-grader Elyse Meerdink carded an 11-over par ( to finish tied for 40th in the 1A girls event.
She made headlines back in April when she won the National Drive, Chip and Putt Championship at Augusta National Golf Club (Augusta, Georgia) as a sixth-grader competing in the 10- to 11-year-old age group. She was one of 80 boys and girls from across the nation to qualify for the event held at the site of the Masters Tournament.
Academy at the Lakes junior Tristin Perkins carded a 14-over par (79-79 — 158) to finish 40th in the 1A boys event.
Sunlake senior Cody Williams shot an 18-over par (79-83 — 162) to finish 57th in the 3A boys competition.
Cody Williams, Sunlake (57th) 79-83 — 162
Sunlake (10th place, out of 16 schools)
Alyssa Mixon (tied 7th) 72-79 — 151
Taylor Zachary (tied 11th) 76-77 — 153
Hailey Stricker (tied 76th) 94-90 — 184
Helena Potter (tied 88th) 94-103 — 197
Hannah Mathis (92nd) 101-104 — 205
Cypress Creek (sixth place, out of 16 schools)
Connor Newbold (fifth) 74-75 — 149
Daniel Polce (tied 30th) 82-81 — 163
Trey Sasser (tied 66th) 87-89 — 176
Joaquin Parrilla (tied 70th) 92-86 — 178
Levi Wade (93rd) 108-94 — 202
Cypress Creek (seventh place, out of 16 schools)
Carmen Phousirith (17th) 78-82 — 160
Tiffany Colin (tied 24th) 82-81 — 163
Annamarie Ratican (tied 37th) 79-92 — 171
Addison Noll (91st) 115-110 — 225
Jillian Scott (94th) 113-120 — 233
Tristin Perkins, Academy at the Lakes (40th) 79-79 — 158
Elyse Meerdink, Carrollwood Day School (tied 40th) 75-80 — 155
Published December 08, 2021