HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS — The ball thundered off Alexandra Gazzoli’s driver.
It made a sound that would turn anyone’s head and most golfers can only dream about.
“It amazes me every time you do that,” Ryan Donaldson, a Suwannee player paired with Gazzoli Wednesday, said to the Matanzas senior as she stepped away from the tee box.
And 250-plus yards later, after soaring over a creek that stretched the width of the hole, the ball plopped right in the middle of the fairway, well past the two others in her group who had landed short of the water. From there, Gazzoli used her 6-iron to stick the ball on the green less than 20 feet from the cup for an eagle chance.
That’s when the realization hit her.
“When I was walking up to the last green, I was like, ‘Oh, this is it,’” Gazzoli said. “It is a little bittersweet.”
Her eagle putt missed by only a few inches, but she tapped in for birdie, completing the final hole of the Class 2A state championships and her high school career. Gazzoli placed fourth overall at Mission Inn Resort & Club.
On Tuesday, she shot a 1-under-par 70 and followed that with a 2-over-par 73 Wednesday. Her total was a 1-over-par 143, slotting her three strokes behind winner Katherine Schaefer of American Heritage (Broward).
“I thought my driver was really good,” Gazzoli said. “That, I had kind of struggled with lately. I’m pretty happy with that. I feel like all my tee shots were pretty good this week.”
She qualified for the state tournament each of her four years and never finished outside the top four. She ranked third as a freshman, was the runner-up as a sophomore and won the individual title last year.
“I’m glad to be able to represent Matanzas,” Gazzoli said. “I wish I could have done better three of the years, but I’m glad I was able to go and experience it each year.”
She opened her first round of this week’s tournament with a birdie on the first hole. She later birdied holes 5 and 12 while bogeying 4 and 8. Otherwise, she played par golf.
During her second round, Gazzoli started slower, bogeying the second and third holes. She settled in quickly, though, parring hole 4, birdieing 5 and carding eight consecutive pars after that.
After bogeys on 14 and 16, she closed the day with the birdie tap-in on 18 and smiled as she walked off the green.
Next up for Gazzoli is college golf at Florida State University. She committed to the school last year but signed the official paperwork Wednesday morning.
“I’m just glad to have had her on the team,” Matanzas coach Brandie Alred said. “It’s been so wonderful to have her. Such a blessing to have someone with such talent be a mentor to all the other girls who are either new to golf or kind of middle of the pack. I’ll definitely miss her.”
Amelia Cobb competes at 4th straight state tournament
Wednesday also marked the final high school golf round for Seabreeze standout Amelia Cobb.
The senior tied for 22nd out of 98 participants in her fourth state tournament appearance, firing a 77 Tuesday and an 80 in her second round for an overall 157.
She was 18th as a freshman in 2020 before third-place finishes as a sophomore and junior. Cobb, who also won the District 6-2A championship for the second straight year last month, is committed to Florida Atlantic.
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1. Beachside — 600
2. American Heritage (Broward) — 603
3. Ponte Vedra — 636
4. South Walton — 641
5. McKeel — 654
6. Bishop Moore Catholic — 655
7. Archbishop McCarthy — 664
8. American Heritage (Palm Beach) — 667
9. Parrish Community — 672
10. Barron Collier — 694
11. Columbia — 704
12. Academy of the Holy Names — 707
13. Gulf Coast — 720
14. Jensen Beach — 723
15. Estero — 735
16. Sebring — 737
Individual top 10
1. Katherine Schaefer, American Heritage (Broward) — 140 (-2)
T-2. Nancy Cox, Ponte Vedra — 141
T-2. Sofia Rivera, Beachside — 141
4. Alexandra Gazzoli, Matanzas — 143
5. Ryan Donaldson, Suwannee — 145
T-6. Gia Culler-Guerra, Miami Springs — 146
T-6. Maddie Rathjen, Beachside — 146
8. Sara Vitasek, Gulf Coast — 148
T-9. Elle Reisner, Fernandina Beach — 150
T-9. Emma Sanabria, Bishop Moore Catholic — 150
T-9. McKenzee Sullivan, St. Petersburg — 150
This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: FHSAA golf: Alexandra Gazzoli places 4th in final 2A state tournament