In its first match of the season, Niceville wanted to make a statement.
Led by a pair of red numbers from Alia Scotka and Madison Tenore – highlighted by Scotka’s 3-under-par 33 – the Eagles carded an even-par 144 to win a four-team showcase at the Pines Course at Fort Walton Beach Golf Club.
“I think this group’s pretty motivated and right off the bat they’re already showing they’re in midseason form,” Niceville coach Mitch Inness said. “They’re playing against history and have goals for themselves to break team records."
The team record for a nine-hole showcase is 138. The individual mark is 32. They’re not far off both.
“We have a good shot to go even lower,” Inness said. “They’ve been playing all summer and we’ve seen some really good scores from these girls. This is just the beginning.”
The last we saw of the Eagles, they were finishing fourth at the 3A state tournament after a 71-72 from Tenore (tied for fourth individually) and an 80-76 from Scotka (tied for 25th).
Judging by the opening red numbers, both Tenore and Scotka appear primed to compete for a state title.
Scotka’s 33 bested Tenore’s 35 for low-medalist honors and Paola Rosario and Mariane Johnson added a pair of 39s for the Eagles, who discarded a 41 from Rachel Smith and bested runner-up Fort Walton Beach by 40 strokes.
“That was kind of what we were looking for and it’s a good indication of much better we can be,” Inness said. … “We played a couple of qualifiers last week and Alia shot a 32. She’s locked in.”
For the Vikings, Emily Reyna’s even-par 36 led the way. They also got a 48 from Trinity Hixon-Wells, a 49 from Riley Conroy and a 51 from Aaliyah Miille.
Choctaw was third with a 193, led by a pair of 44s from Madison Howell and Nicole Haskill. Erin Sharpe added a 52 and Mackenzie Rushton chipped in a 53.
In fourth with a 203 was Crestview, which got a 47 from Olivia Gonzales, a 49 from Lea Bailey, a 52 from Emma Mason and a 55 from Madison Parker.
The quartet will face of again Thursday at Rocky Bayou Country Club.