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State golf: Durant girls in contention for team title

OCALA — The giant score cards were on display, and a crowd gathered to look. Most numbers were written in black marker. Five were written in red, indicating sub-par rounds.

The first day of the Class 2A state golf tournament ended with plenty of girls shaking their heads in disgust.

Even Durant sophomore Madison Opfer appeared disappointed as she met teammates. Coach Doug Sheffield said she ran into some misfortune. But Opfer had her chances and finished just three strokes out of first, shooting even-par 72.

She wasn't alone.

Cougars junior Ericka Wardzinski also fired 72, giving both girls a legitimate shot at an individual title. They trail Melbourne Viera junior Olivia Lugar, who shot 69.

"I'm going to tell both girls to go for it," Sheffield said of today's final round. "Madison is capable of going low. …Ericka, even though no quite as long, she has a knack for catching on. All of a sudden you look at the card and she's even par."

As a team, Durant sits in third place with 328. Sheffield, who raced back to Tampa to coach a soccer game Tuesday night, said before matches he writes a target number on an index card. That number Tuesday was 325.

It will have to be a lot lower to catch the leader. The Cougars trail first-place Lake Mary (311) and second-place Melbourne Viera (320). Other Cougar scores: junior Kerrie Reinhardt (86), sophomore Olivia Higgins (98) and senior Lauren Hirschey (101).

Individually, King senior Kelsey Gibson battled a "family emergency" back home and finished with 75. Gibson declined to offer details, but said it forced her to travel back and forth from Ocala on Sunday. She returned to Ocala on Monday, played nine holes and hit balls until dark, then got a good night's rest.

After a couple of bogeys Tuesday on the front nine, she finished the back stretch even par.

"I'm here," Gibson said. "My family's here. …I'm a pretty mellow person. It takes a lot to really ruffle me up."

2A boys

OCALA — If one mulligan were permitted for every nine holes at state, Paul Demick might be contending for his second championship in as many weeks. As it stands, the Wharton junior is contemplating the golden opportunity that got away on an overcast, windy morning Tuesday in north central Florida.

The Region 4 champion, Demick finished 8-over 80 on Day 1 of the 2A tournament at Silver Springs Shores. Subtract a quadruple bogey on his first par-3 hole of the day and a triple bogey on a par-5 on his second nine, and he was 1 over.

"I didn't play bad," said Demick, who shot 1-under 70 to win last week's regionals at Summerfield. "But I didn't necessarily play good."

Starting his round on the back nine, Demick followed his quadruple bogey on the par-3 No. 13 with birdies the next two holes. He was 2 over after a birdie on No. 1, but hit an 8 on the 495-yard, par-5 No. 4 before bogeying the next three holes.

Vero Beach junior James Monnerville shot 6-under 66 to lead entering today's final round. Demick tees off at 10:06.

A girls

OCALA — Led by Emmy Martin's 81, Academy of the Holy Names finished Round 1 of the state championships at Ocala's Golden Hills in 10th place out of 16 teams with a score of 360.

Mariah Diaz came into the clubhouse five strokes back of Martin with 86. Annie Milewski shot 96 and Casey Pluchino 97 to account for Academy's score.

Martin, Diaz and Pluchino are all eighth-graders. Milewski is the Jaguars' lone senior.

Steinbrenner's Alex Milan, who finished tied for ninth at the 2A state tournament last year playing for Sickles, fired six-over 78 to stay within sight of the leaders.

American Heritage was first after Day 1 at 296, and Northside Christian (298) is two strokes back in second. Individually, American Heritage's Shelby Coyle fired 3-under 69 and sits atop the leaderboard entering today's final round.

Staff writers Joey Knight and Bryan Burns contributed to this report.

State golf: Durant girls in contention for team title 11/03/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 3, 2009 11:15pm]
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