Viera's Liu finishes 2nd, girls team 3rd at state golf


Published:

Viera High senior Sophie Liu finished second at the Class 3A state golf tournament on Wednesday. It's the highest finish ever for a member of the Viera High girls golf program.

VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala

HOWIE-IN-THE-HILLS – Sophie Liu had a lot to be proud of after Wednesday’s final round of the Class 3A golf championship at the Mission Inn & Resort.

So did her Viera High teammates.

But as the silver medal hung around Liu’s neck, there was a little twinge of disappointment, too.

The defending state champions started the day in third place, and that’s just how they ended it as they could not mount a challenge to overtake Niceville or this year’s new champ, Lake Mary.

Liu started the day in a first-place tie with Seminole’s Alyssa Lamoureux after firing a 4-under 68 on Tuesday ... and that’s just how it stood after 18 holes Wednesday when both players shot an even-par 72. They were still tied after two playoff holes before Lamoureux pulled out the win on the third hole when Liu’s final putt didn’t drop.

“I’m a little sad, to be honest, but I’m hanging in there,” Liu said.

The Hawks may have fallen short of what they had hoped for – back-to-back titles – but that doesn’t mean the season wasn’t a success.

“It wasn’t our ultimate goal, but we can’t hang our heads about it because we had a great year,” Viera girls coach Greg Ford said. “I’m very proud of them and how they responded and how they played for the entire year.”

Senior Katie Arnott, playing in her final competitive match, shot a career-best 83 on Wednesday. That included back-to-back birdies on holes Nos. 5 & 6 after which she exclaimed to Ford as she walked off the green, “I have never gotten two birdies in a row before!”

Junior Samantha Brimhall, who should move into the No. 1 spot next season, also had a big day with a 74 for a two-day total of 155.

Sophomore Dayna Owens struggled at the start of the round, but as Ford put it, “fought hard” and finished with an 84. Her two-day total was 166.

Senior Taylor Rajeski had an 86 Wednesday to go with her opening round 78 and a two-day total of 164.

As a team, the Hawks shot a final round 313 on Wednesday after entering play trailing Lake Mary by 10 shots.

“Everybody was going to have to basically do their best today,” Ford said. “All year long, in every tournament we’ve played in … it just didn’t click as a whole team.

“But they tried their best, and that’s all we can do. We’re a team. We win as a team and we lose as a team.”

Liu certainly did her best, too.

After shooting 1-over on the front nine, she birdied the 12th and 15th holes to move to 1-under par. However, her tee shot on 17 found the water and she ended up bogeying the hole to fall back to par, and eventually into the playoff with Lamoureux.

What was Liu’s mindset heading into the playoff?

“First off, I was playing with Alyssa, who is a really good competitor. She and I are friends. I was really excited to be playing golf with her because I never get to. … I just tried to do my best by hitting every shot.”

It may not have ended with a title, but Liu can still take pride in the fact that not only is second place in the state quite an accomplishment, it’s also the highest any Viera girls player has ever finished at the state meet.

“I’m very proud of being second place,” she said. “I’m very proud of being here. I’m proud of the team making it to states, and I’m proud of Coach (Ford) supporting us. I’m proud of everyone here that was able to get out and support the team.”

Boys finish 11th

Viera’s boys team had a rough start to the tournament and while the Hawks were four shots better on Wednesday, it wasn’t enough to make them serious contenders for the title.

Viera finished 11th as a team.

Sophomore Calvin Sierota, who began the day two shots off the lead following an opening-round 75, fired a 76 on Wednesday and in a tie for 12th place with a two-day total of 151.

Junior Tyler Greek was next with a total of 163 (80-83). Senior Ryan Rozic rebounded from his opening-round 90 with a 78 on Wednesday for a 168.

Senior Kyle Decenzo shot 84-85 for a total of 169 and senior Mitch Albright went 87-88 for a 175.