HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS — Freedom junior Terese Romeo has every reason to be furious with the golf gods. She shot 1-over 73 Wednesday on Day 2 of the Class 3A state tournament on Mission Hill Golf Resort's Las Colinas Course.
Her two-round 146 tied Countryside's Madison Glennie and Sarasota Riverview's Kadi Pallastrone and set up a playoff for the individual championship that started on the first hole.
Glennie was eliminated on the second hole when she bogeyed the par 3. That left Romeo and Pallastrone to fight it out, and did they ever.
They matched each other shot for shot in what turned out to be an eight-hole playoff. Pallastrone made key shots down the stretch to fend off elimination and won with par on the ninth hole, the second time they played the hole.
Romeo took second. Glennie was third.
"It wouldn't call it unfair," Romeo said. "(Pallastrone) played great and I played great. We both had some not so great breaks. There was one or two shots where I could've won, and one or two where she could've won. It just happened to be her. I don't regret anything I did."
The two were even through five holes on the front nine. They skipped holes six and seven and went to the eighth tee because of the setup of the course. It was there Pallastrone seemed destined.
Her tee shot landed under a tree and she had to punch out. Her approach was 20 feet behind the hole. Meanwhile, Romeo lagged her 50-foot birdie putt and tapped in to par. Pallastrone made her 20-footer to keep the match alive.
"I don't even know how I made that shot," Pallastrone said.
Pallastrone then bogeyed the ninth after driving into the fairway bunker. But Romeo missed her 4-foot par putt, which forced the players back to the ninth tee.
Romeo's drive faded right into pine straw and on top of a tree root. Her attempt to punch out hit a tree and went backward. Romeo double bogeyed while Pallastrone parred.
The players hugged after the round, tears in their eyes for different reasons.
"I played great," Romeo said. "The way I look at it, I tied for first. I put out the score I needed to put out. It just came down to one shot here or there."
On the boys side, Newsome could not make up any ground on Lakewood Ranch, which won with 593. Newsome was second (608) and Vero Beach third (611).
Newsome junior Tyler Bakich shot a second-round 73 and tied for second overall with a two-round 2-under 142. Sam Horsfield of Davenport Ridgewood Community School won with 5-under 139. Newsome's John Coultas tied for sixth (2-over 146).
Plant finished 10th in the 16-team field with 639. Chris Kern led the Panthers with 77-75–152, good enough to tie for 13th. Freedom was 16th (685).
Steinbrenner finished sixth in the girls tournament (674), and Freedom was 10th (690). Weston Cypress Bay won with 653.
King's Steffi Yo was forced to withdraw in the second round after shooting an opening 79.