Trio of Cecil Co. golfers qualify for state tournament
— 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
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.”
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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.