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WEEKI WACHEE — Springstead took its third consecutive Hernando County Championship on Thursday at The Heather Golf & Country Club, but the story of the day was the performance of Eagles junior Megan Berube.
The Eagles (195 points) were able to edge Nature Coast (202) for the title and maintain an undefeated regular-season mark, winning all 12 events the team has entered.
Berube shot even-par 33 for the nine-hole round, six shots ahead of Central’s Stephanie Rodney on her way to the individual title. A year-round golfer, the young phenom has won three straight county crowns.
“I’m pretty happy with this round,” Berube said. “Playing courses like this really helps out my short game, and that’s where I needed the most work today.”
The nine holes did not feature a par-5, leaving competitors to focus a great deal on iron and wedge play. After shooting 3-over 36 on the same course last season, Berube was able to improve on that score.
She made birdie to open the scoring on the second hole, but registered back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 4 and 5 to go to 1 over. The play of the tournament came on the eighth hole when she drove the green on the 212-yard, par-4. From there, she was able to knock down an 8-foot putt for eagle. Only a final-hole bogey kept her from finishing under par.
With drives of 230 and 215 yards leading the way, Berube finished with an average of 204.1 yards off the tee. She hit six of nine greens in regulation.
“It’s all about moving up to the next level,” she said. “The best golfers out there are competitors but we’re also friends, so it helps to play with them on a regular basis.”
Rodney and Nature Coast’s Kae Elliott, who were in a threesome with the Springstead star, have closed the gap this season by improving their games. Rodney, who had a scoring average of 44.5 coming into the event, really excelled with Berube’s play to motivate her. Elliott finished one shot off Rodney’s pace at 7-over 40.
“When you are keeping up with (Berube), it makes you feel better, and you strive to do even more,” Rodney said. “It really prepares you for the quality of play we’ll face later on.”
Emma Betters (45), Kylie Van Meter (55) and Kiki Schau (63) were the other Springstead golfers to qualify for the team scoring. Betters came into the tournament averaging 55.9 per round.
Hernando County Championship at The Heather Golf & Country Club, Weeki Wachee
Springstead 195, Nature Coast 202, Central 246, Weeki Wachee 268, Hernando 299
Megan Berube (Spr) 33, Stephanie Rodney (Cen) 39, Kae Elliott (NC) 40, Emma Betters (Spr) 45, Autumn McCullough (NC) 53, Kaitlyn Glynn (NC) 53, Samantha Glenny (Cen) 53, Kylie Van Meter (Spr) 55, Cassidy Verdi (NC) 56, Vanessa Moore (WW) 57