Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Girls golfers to watch

Mitchell sophomore Megan Van Etten is looking to defend her Sunshine Athletic Conference title this fall.


Mitchell sophomore Megan Van Etten is looking to defend her Sunshine Athletic Conference title this fall.

In recent autumns, local girls golf coaches have come to cringe at the utterance of the Van Etten surname the way football coaches in these parts wince at the mention of a Weatherford or Hambrick.

First, it was two-time state qualifier Emily Van Etten, guiding Mitchell High to Sunshine Athletic Conference titles in 2005 and '06 and perpetuating a program win streak that reached 76 dual matches. In her wake arrived younger sister Megan, a Mustangs junior who hopes to defend her SAC tournament title in October.

Now, the Mustangs — Megan included — welcome the third installment to their golfing dynasty when petite freshman Rebecca Van Etten tees it up for coach Joe Castellano's team.

"She has the same intensity and the same work ethic (as her sisters) and I'll bet she's got a pretty comparable game," said Castellano, who returns three of his top five players from last season's conference championship team. "I've only seen little bits and pieces of it and I'm going to say it's pretty comparable to her sisters."

By contrast, Castellano has observed far more of Megan's golfing chops, honed over the summer by lunch-pail type practice sessions at her home course.

In lieu of extensive competition — she played in only one tournament over the summer — Megan spent five hours a day at Heritage Springs Country Club, devoting an hour each to chipping and putting before breaking out the longer clubs.

"She's not exceptionally long off the tee but she's long enough," Castellano said. "She's accurate, a solid iron player and has a great short game. I think she has all the tools in place to be a consistently good player."

But can she take her younger sister?

"I don't really like to talk about that," Megan said. "She does challenge me though."

Joey Knight, Times staff writer

Five girls to watch

Kim Donato, So., River Ridge

A 2007 region qualifier who could make more noise this postseason if her short game improves.

Bailey Logan, Sr., Gulf

Tied for fourth at last season's 2A, District 12 tournament. For a change, she might have a full team around her.

Lauren Shuford, Jr., Hernando

Last year's Hernando County Athletic Conference champ tied for fourth at the 2A-9 tournament

Megan Van Etten, Jr., Mitchell

Defending Sunshine Athletic Conference champ is the odds-on favorite to retain her title, unless she's eclipsed by …

Rebecca Van Etten, Fr., Mitchell

If her last name's Van Etten, we're banking on her being pretty talented.

Girls golfers to watch 08/22/08 [Last modified: Thursday, August 28, 2008 9:11am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. College World Series: Gators, LSU face off in all-SEC finals


    OMAHA, Neb. — The matchup for the College World Series finals bolsters the case for those who say the best baseball in the land is played in the SEC.

    Florida’s Brady Singer, delivering during a CWS win over Louisville last week, is scheduled to start tonight against LSU.
  2. Jones: Fox Sports Sun shows depth in Rays coverage

    TV and Radio

    tom jones' two cents

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) makes a run home for a score in the in the final game of a three-game series between the Tampa Bay Rays and AL East rival the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, June 25, 2017.
  3. Brian Boyle says returning to Lightning a 'huge option'


    As former Lightning forward Brian Boyle approaches free agency this week, he said he's trying to stay busy.

  4. Rays journal: Blake Snell to rejoin rotation, Erasmo Ramirez heads to bullpen

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Blake Snell is rejoining the Rays' rotation, but the move has as much to do with helping the bullpen as it does with Snell's improvement during his time at Triple-A Durham.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Erasmo Ramirez (30) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in St. Petersburg.
  5. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.