CLEARWATER — Freedom’s Terese Romeo didn’t need to hit shots that rocketed off her club face and disappeared toward the horizon like missiles.
Like a carpenter using everytool at her disposal, Romeo crafted an impressive round at the Class 3A, Region 4 tournament, shooting 72 to win individual honors.
The length of Romeo’s shots didn’t matter. Instead, it was her creative short game that served as her all-around tool, allowing her to save par several times on the Countryside Country Club course.
“I can hit far, but I kind of put the driver away and played more to my strengths with my mid-to-short game to make a couple of bogeys and birdies to play even par,” she said.
Romeo laid out her strategy during a practice round at the course, where she also won last year.
Only this time her teammates were hitting the ball just as well.
Megan Pollenz finished with 76, the first time she has shot below 80. Maria Horvath had 82. That helped the Patriots win the team title with 334, four strokes ahead of Steinbrenner.
“I was extremely proud of the way our team played,” Romeo said. “We knew that a team title was possible, and it was so exciting coming off the 18th green with everyone having a score that would help us win.”
The Warriors were the only team to have their top four girls shoot in the 80s. Alyssa Serino (80) and Claire Becker (82) had the top two scores for Steinbrenner.
Palm Harbor University finished third (386), followed by King (395), Plant (425) and Wiregrass Ranch (439).
King’s Steffi Yo advanced to state as the top individual with 75. Countryside’s Madison Glennie and St. Petersburg’s Mariana Ocano each shot 79 and played a one-hole playoff to determine the final individual spot.
Glennie prevailed, draining a 6-foot put to make par (four) one the course’s first hole.
“We waited so long for the playoff to start and that only amped up the pressure,” Glennie said. “I just went out and played my game and was able to do what I needed to move on.
“It’s nice to go back to state for the second year in a row. I felt like I accomplished something by doing it in a playoff. That made it that much more rewarding.”
2A-6 girls: Osceola's Gibson places sixth
Academy of the Holy Names easily advanced to the state tournament with 320 at the Highlands Ridge North Course in Sebring. Host Sebring was second with 346. AHN’s Emmy Martin was the individual winner with 67.
Osceola’s Haydyn Gibson shot 76 to finish sixth overall. Boca Ciega’s Sadie Chlapowski shot 83.
The girls 2A state tournament will be played Oct. 29 and 30 at the Mission Inn Resort and Club in Howey-in-the-Hills.
2A-6 boys: Warriors take third
Host Sebring shot 326 to advance at Sun and Lake Golf Course. Lake Wales was second with 339. Osceola (342) finished third, followed by Largo (359) and Dixie Hollins (406).
Robinson’s Andrew Skora advanced as an individual after shooting 79.
The boys state tournament is at the Mission Inn Resort and Club on Oct. 29 and 30.
Staff writer Rodney Page contributed to this report.