Trio of Ce­cil Co. golfers qual­ify for state tour­na­ment

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS -

— From her van­tage point near the right side of the fair­way, Ge­n­e­sis Diaz watched as her sec­ond shot on the par-5 eighth hole sailed to­ward the green, bounced once and rolled in the di­rec­tion of the pin. She was ec­static when it fell in the hole. “I re­ally could not be­lieve it. That was the first time that had hap­pened to me and I was just shak­ing,” said Diaz, who used a pitch­ing wedge from roughly 110 yards to sink the shot. “I was like ‘Wow.’”

The Elkton se­nior’s rare dou­ble ea­gle pro­pelled her to a 1-un­der 72 at the Dis­trict VII Golf Tour­na­ment at Geneva Farm Golf Club on Tues­day, al­low­ing her to claim the top score of any par­tic­i­pat­ing golfer.

Diaz fin­ished three strokes ahead of Bo­hemia Manor se­nior Hunter Tollinger, Fall­ston’s Dy­lan Wolf and Aberdeen’s Mitchell Harbin, who ended the af­ter­noon in a three-way tie for the top male score.

“I came in pretty con­fi­dent. [My strat­egy] was to just par [the course] out and hope­fully that’s enough. I did a lot bet­ter than I ex­pected, and that one hole, it was just amaz­ing. Once that hap­pened I was think­ing that I have this [cham­pi­onship] in the palm of my hand,” said Diaz, who fired the top fe­male score for a third-straight year. “I birdied the next hole af­ter that and knew I was set. I just needed to keep that score the [rest of the way].

“I’m glad that I fi­nally [posted the top score],” she added. “Last year, I shot a 72, as well, but some­one else shot a 71. We would have been tied if I hadn’t bo­geyed the fi­nal hole last year. To­day I was re­ally ex­cited that I got it.”

Diaz will ad­vance to next month’s 2A-1A State Golf Tour­na­ment at Univer­sity of Mary­land in Col­lege Park for a fourth-con­sec­u­tive year. She will join Tollinger and Per­ryville ju­nior Jor­dyn Pol­litt as the only three golfers who qual­i­fied for states from Ce­cil County.

Un­der the im­pres­sion he had fin­ished sec­ond among the male com­peti­tors, Tollinger dis­cov­ered shortly af­ter his round was over that he had tied for the lead.

Wolf, who led both Tollinger and Harbin by one stroke af­ter 18 holes, re­ceived an ex­tra

STREET

stroke on the 10th hole when of­fi­cials re­al­ized he had writ­ten in the in­cor­rect score. Af­ter hit­ting his ball into a haz­ard, re­sult­ing in a one-stroke penalty, Wolf’s prac­tice swing hit grass and grounded into the haz­ard—a move that should have re­sulted in a sec­ond stroke.

“He took a one stroke penalty when he should have taken a two-stroke penalty. In­stead of a 5, he had a 6,” Tollinger said. “That means there’s a three-way tie.”

Tollinger ad­vances to states for a third­straight year.

Af­ter start­ing out 2-over af­ter the first three holes, the Ea­gles se­nior fin­ished the re­main­ing 15 holes just 1-over.

“I started off a lit­tle rough, I had a cou­ple three putts and I wasn’t hit­ting my wedges that well,” Tollinger said. “I just stayed fo­cus and drove the ball re­ally well, made a cou­ple birdies and [fin­ished] well.”

His four­some in­cluded Wolf, Harbin and Har­ford Tech’s Josh Kopeck (78).

“I’m al­ways try­ing to beat them. We’re all pretty good friends and it’s al­ways real com­pet­i­tive in that group,” Tollinger said. “It’s al­ways fun.”

A crit­i­cal mo­ment oc­curred on the 15th hole when a chip shot from Wolf hit Tollinger’s ball rest­ing on the green and de­flected into the hole for a birdie. Tollinger then fol­lowed by mak­ing his next shot for a par.

“I have never seen any­thing like that be­fore. It was be­yond crazy. He was so lucky,” Tollinger said. “I was go­ing to mark the ball but I wasn’t re­ally think­ing about it.”

Pol­litt re­turns to states for a sec­ond-straight year af­ter she recorded an 84 while com­pet­ing in the same group as Diaz.

“I’m re­ally happy to go back [to states]. I shot five strokes bet­ter here than last year and hope­fully it stays so I can shoot five or bet­ter than that [at Col­lege Park],” Pol­litt said. “It feels good to be able to ac­com­plish that. Be­ing able to make it back is awe­some.”

The Pan­thers squad, which ended with a com­bined score of 337, missed qual­i­fy­ing for states as a team by one stroke.

“The past cou­ple of years we’ve been within 10 strokes [of ad­vanc­ing],” Pol­litt said. “Our lat­est cou­ple matches we’ve been so close to win­ning—one or two strokes—so com­ing here and be­ing up­set by one stroke re­ally kills us.”

Follow Jordan Schatz on Twit­ter: @Jor­dan_Whig

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JORDAN SCHATZ

Elkton se­nior Ge­n­e­sis Diaz re­acts to a putt dur­ing one of the fi­nal holes at Tues­day’s Dis­trict VII Golf Cham­pi­onship at Geneva Farm Golf Club in Street. Diaz fin­ished with a 1-un­der 72 to record the top score of any par­tic­i­pant.

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