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. Tampa lawyer Fred Ridley to be new chairman of Augusta National, Masters' home (w/ video)


    AUGUSTA, Ga. — Fred Ridley first came to Augusta National to compete in the 1976 Masters as the U.S. Amateur champion, and he played the opening round in the traditional pairing with the defending champion, Jack Nicklaus.

  2. Rays send down Chase Whitley, Andrew Kittredge; add Chih-Wei Hu, activate Alex Cobb


    After having to cover more than five innings following a short start by Austin Pruitt, the Rays shuffled their bullpen following Wednesday's game, sending down RHPs Chase Whitley and Andrew Kittredge,

    The Kittredge move was expected, as he was summoned to add depth to the pen Wednesday in advance of RHP Alex …

  3. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred moves closer to wanting a decision on Rays stadium

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred called Wednesday for urgency from Tampa Bay area government leaders to prioritize and move quicker on plans for a new Rays stadium.

    MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred talks with reporters at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Blue Jays game

    The Heater

    The Austin Pruitt experiment might be over, or at least put on pause. After allowing six runs over seven innings to Seattle on Friday, the rookie didn't get through the fourth Wednesday, giving up five runs on four homers. His ERA for past six starts: 5.29.

  5. Six home runs doom Rays in loss to Blue Jays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — A curve that didn't bounce was the difference Wednesday as the Rays lost 7-6 to the Blue Jays in front of 8,264, the smallest Tropicana field crowd since Sept. 5, 2006.

    Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (11) greets center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) at the plate after his two run home run in the third inning of the game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017.