State golf: Shaky start for Mitchell girls; Ridgewood's Padova struggles with slow pace

OCALA — Mitchell's day ended with a meeting at a picnic table.

The girls gathered around first-year coach Scott Schmitz, their faces filled with gloom, his voice filled with inspiration.

There is plenty of work to do in today's final round of the Class 2A state tournament at the Ocala Golf Club.

Mitchell's past 48 hours have been a seesaw of emotion. A fun practice round Monday gave way to brutal greens and stiff competition Tuesday.

What today will bring is anyone's guess.

The Mustangs had reached state with one of the top region scores, along with Orlando Timber Creek. This morning those teams woke up in a sixth-place tie, each having posted scores of 343.

"The girls struggled a little bit," Schmitz said. "That's the thing about golf. You want to play well, but we struggled a little bit. That's the great thing about a two-day tournament. Now we have to refocus our goals a little bit. … Our goal should be to finish higher than we are right now."

Lake Mary led with a score of 311. In second was Melbourne Viera (320) followed by Durant (328).

The Mustangs were led by sisters Megan and Rebecca Van Etten, who shot 79 and 80, respectively. To compare, the girls finished fifth and sixth at regionals with 73 and 74, respectively. Other Mustangs scores included Victoria Kinney (88), Emma Fivecoat (96) and Kristen Pitts (103).

Now the girls will have to play stellar and hope for some help to land in the top five.

"Our goal is to finish in the top five and then go from there," Schmitz said. "If that happens our girls can be proud of themselves."

Individually, Durant sophomore Madison Opfer and junior Ericka Wardzinski remained in contention for an individual title. The Cougars teammates fired even-par 72s, putting them in a sixth-place tie.

Melbourne Viera junior Olivia Lugar posted the best score of the day with 69, just one of four players to shoot subpar rounds.

King senior Kelsey Gibson shot 75, St. Petersburg sophomore Shane Crutchfield shot 76 and Dunedin junior Justine Knox shot 79.

2A boys

OCALA — Upon making the turn at the Class 2A boys state tournament at Silver Springs Shores, Ridgewood's Austin Padova discovered play backed up considerably on the back nine.

Soon thereafter, the sophomore was out of his rhythm, and out of contention for the Day 1 lead.

"Whenever we have slow play," Padova said, "I never play well."

Padova followed his even-par 36 on the front with a 43 on the back for 7-over 79 — 13 strokes off the lead after the first day. The last state qualifier from the Region 4 tournament, Padova tees off at 8 this morning.

"I played terrible," said Padova, who either hit bogey or double bogey on three of his first four holes on the back nine.

"The course isn't that hard. In two practice rounds I shot a 73 and did okay."

Vero Beach junior James Monnerville leads after one round with 6-under 66.

Joey Knight, Times staff writer

State golf: Shaky start for Mitchell girls; Ridgewood's Padova struggles with slow pace 11/03/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 3, 2009 11:45pm]

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