On a day when her driver and long irons couldn’t seem to find a fairway, Madison Opfer’s putter at least found the cup.
As a result, the Durant junior remains in contention for a state title. On a windy, overcast day at Ocala’s Golden Hills Golf and Turf Club, Opfer shot 2-over-par 74 to finish in a tie for sixth on Day 1 of the Class 2A girls tournament.
Boca Raton Spanish River junior Christina Ocampo’s 70 leads the 36-hole event.
Opfer, a Tulane University commitment who finished tied for fourth at this tournament in 2009, managed only one birdie, but acknowledged her putter “really helped me on my up-and-downs. I hit only 10 greens. …I didn’t make the birdie putts, just the up-and-down putts.”
Elsewhere, Plant juniors Kelsey Eisch and Laura Hendee each shot 10-over 82 for the Panthers, who ended tied for ninth in the team standings with a four-player total of 370. Plant City, behind freshman Kellyanne Hurst’s 85 and junior Belinda George’s 87, was in 11th (377).
Class A girls
Steinbrenner senior Alex Milan remains in solid contention for a state title following a 1-over 73 Tuesday at Ocala Golf Club. An FSU commitment, Milan enters today’s final round tied for seventh, five strokes behind leader Jan Chanpalangsri of Boca Raton.
“I feel like I’m in great position for (the last round),” Milan said. “Five strokes, I’ve done it before …so I know it’s doable. I’m in a good place.”
Milan put herself there Tuesday despite what she called a “sloppy” round on a windy day. She birdied two holes but missed some other prime birdie chances on par-5s and doubled-bogeyed the par-4 ninth.
Milan was the only player to eclipse 80 for Steinbrenner, which finished the day tied for 11th in the team standings at 354. Nearly upstaging her was Blake sophomore Summer Moser, who nailed a hole-in-one on the par-3 fifth.
Moser, who finished with 86, became the second county golfer to ace a hole in the postseason. Durant’s Eric Modjeski did it in the District 11 boys tournament. Holy Names' Emmy Martin also shot 86.
Class 2A boys
At Dunnellon’s Juliette Falls, Newsome sophomore Brian Allen’s 3-over 75 led all local golfers. The Wolves, who joined Wharton as the county’s only team qualifiers, finished the day 11th in the team standings with a four-player total of 314.
Wharton, which edged the Wolves by three strokes for the Region 4 title, was tied for 14th at 327. Senior Paul Demick, an individual state qualifier as a junior, was the only Wildcat to eclipse 80, scoring eagle on the par-5 No. 2 hole en route to 7-over 79.
Sophomore Jorge Junquera, the ’Cats’ low scorer at the district and region tournaments, struggled to 88 while playing with a sore shoulder. Coach Marcie Scholl said Junquera’s status for today’s final round is uncertain.
Individually, Durant’s Connor Hasson, the District 11 champion and Region 4 runnerup, struggled to 10-over 82. “Putting was off today big-time,” Hasson said via text message.
Class A boys
At the Country Club at Silver Springs Shores in Ocala, Steinbrenner senior Jordan DeBonis struggled to 10-over 82. DeBonis is the lone Hillsborough County player in the field.
DeBonis’ highlight: a 25-foot chip off the fringe for eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He had 38 on the front nine, but “never really got good momentum going,” coach J.R. Allen said.