LAND O’LAKES — For the sixth consecutive year, the surname Van Etten was at the top of the leaderboard at the conclusion the Sunshine Athletic Conference girls golf tournament.
Golfing in the footsteps of older sisters Emily (SAC title winner 2005, ’06) and Megan (three-time SAC titlist 2007, ’08, ’09), Rebecca Van Etten captured her first individual SAC title by two strokes Tuesday at the Groves Golf and Country Club, a year after finishing second to Megan by a stroke.
Capping a brilliant run through the regular season in which she averaged 37.7 strokes through nine holes, Rebecca fired 3-over-par 68 to come into the clubhouse two strokes better than runnerup Kellianne May (70) from Pasco and three better than Hana Lee of Wesley Chapel and Mitchell teammate Emma Fivecoat.
Van Etten, a junior, shook off bogey on the opening hole to play smart, consistent golf. She made her only birdie on the par 5,316-yard hole No. 4 after draining a 5-foot putt and closed out the front nine plus-one. Van Etten recorded seven pars and two bogeys on the back nine and could have come close to making par for her round had her putting stroke come around.
“I had some long putts that I didn’t hit well and left myself with a difficult two-putt,” she said. “Other than that, I thought I played pretty well.”
Van Etten and her teammates helped extend another streak: for the 10th consecutive year, the Mustangs were crowned SAC champion, winning handily by 45 strokes.
“I thought with the course being so short it would allow some other teams to have a good chance against us,” Mitchell coach Scott Schmitz said. “But we did a good job managing the course and put together a good round.”
Mitchell’s Nina Argento shot 82 to tie for fifth and Ashley Richardson, a freshman, tied for eighth after carding 85.
“All of our girls played really well today,” Schmitz said. “It was definitely a team effort.”
Behind May’s 70, Pasco claimed second with a 351 team score. The Pirates’ Jordan Lane shot 83 for seventh individually.
River Ridge, with 368 points, was third. The Knights’ Lakyn Shull (82) tied for fifth and Nicole Bylski (86) came in 10th.
Making the all-tournament team after finishing in the top 10 were: Van Etten (Mitchell), May (Pasco), Lee (Wesley Chapel), Fivecoat (Mitchell), Argento (Mitchell), Shull (River Ridge), Lane (Pasco), Richardson (Mitchell), Taylor Upchurch (Wiregrass Ranch) and Bylski (River Ridge).