County Golf Tourneys Slated to Start Today
Mon. October 08, 2012 at 12:00 a.m. | By
By BILL KEMP | Ledger Media Group
Prep golfers will get a chance to fine tune their games with a taste of the postseason atmosphere at the Polk County Golf Tournaments today.
The boys will tee-off at the Providence Golf Club in Davenport while the girls head to Willowbrook Municipal Golf Course in Winter Haven for 8 a.m. shotgun starts.
This year marks the 15th year the girls have participated in the event and they're increasing the course from nine to 18 holes.
"We made up t-shirts for the girls for the 15th annual, it's a good number," Winter Haven head coach Robin Elkins said. "We have 70 golfers playing. … The boys play 18. So we decided to play 18 and get ready for districts."
The girls used to play 18 holes but dropped the tournament to nine holes in the mid-2000s because there weren't enough girls golfers who could handle 18 holes.
Most coaches agree prep scores have dropped dramatically across the county this season and Winter Haven freshman Athena Yang is leading the way for the girls, holding down an impressive 37 nine-hole average.
"She is so focused," Elkins said. "She'll go practice with us and then after dinner she'll go hit more balls. She's been playing since she was eight."
Two other freshmen to watch are Lake Gibson's Amanda Gartrell (39.88) and All Saints 2011 regional qualifier Lauren Thielen (42).
The George Jenkins boys are the two-time defending county champions and head coach Paul Weaver believes the 6,300-yard Providence course could produce some interesting scenarios.
"Some of the larger schools are used to playing courses that are several hundred yards longer than what they are going to be playing at county or districts, so hopefully you're going to see some truly competitive play and some kids that are going to take some risks to try to get the scores lower," Weaver said.
Ridge Community sophomore and 2011 state qualifier Sam Horsfield leads the county with a 37 average, just one stroke ahead of Bartow senior Jack Brown.