NEW TAMPA — Julia McQuilken played Heritage Isles last week to get a feel for the course and didn’t necessarily find it to her liking.
She said she was just all right, dropping a few balls here and there as she felt her away around.
The only thing the Riverview junior dropped Monday afternoon at the Class 2A, District 11 championships was her score. McQuilken blistered Heritage Isles with 6-under 66, capturing top individual honors and beating friend Madison Opfer of Durant by two strokes.
Wharton captured the team title with 313, beating runnerup Plant City by 21 strokes. Durant also advanced to next week’s regionals by finishing third.
The Wildcats, led by Nina Hwang’s 75, were the only team to have three players break 80. Brittany Bradshaw (79), Jackie Higgins (78) and Shannon Clark (81) scored for the Wildcats.
McQuilken finished with eight birdies and needed only 26 putts in improving on the 84 she shot at Heritage Isles at last year’s district tourney.
“Everything just kind of clicked,” she said. “I was making putts, I was knocking shots close. …my course management was good.”
On the third hole, McQuilken hit her drive into the rough, but stuck an 8-iron within 5 feet of the hole for birdie. “I knew I had it going from there.”
Opfer, who was second last year and won the district as a freshman in 2008, was 1 under through eight holes and tied with McQuilken. But the Shark birdied the next four holes, while Opfer lipped out a birdie putt on 14 and an eagle chip on 15.
“Julia’s dad said we were like boxers out there,” Opfer said. “But I stumbled a little bit and couldn’t find my putter for a few holes.”
East Bay’s Abbey Rolfe and Newsome’s Caroline Sorrick both shot 76 to advance as individuals.