Garza shoots 45 at Pine Knolls

Published 1:13 pm Tuesday, October 10, 2023

By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

When Sophia Garza debuted as a golfer at Pine Knolls in August 2022, she struggled to the tune of 25-over 61. A 67 and 66 would follow.

But hey, you’ve got to start somewhere.

A little over a year later, Garza is a feel-good story. At Bermuda Run West on Oct. 3, the Davie senior stole the spotlight with a team-best 11-over 45.

“It felt good,” Garza said. “I was kind of getting frustrated with myself from the previous matches; I didn’t think I was doing too hot. I finally broke 50. I was kind of stuck in the (50s), so it was great. I have spent some more time on my putting, and I think that’s what has improved a lot. That’s also what shaves down your score a lot.”

It was a humble beginning for Garza when she showed up to the first practice of 2022 shortly after her family moved from Texas to Advance.

“She came to the first practice just to see what it was all about,” coach Bob Donley said. “She did not have clubs. She has worked very hard since that day to get her game to where it is now.”

“Spontaneously, out of the blue, I decided why not play golf?” Garza said. “No one in my family plays; I’m the only one. It was either golf or tennis and I thought golf was something different, so I went with it.

“I went to the first practice to see if I was interested. I realized I was and got clubs afterward. Annika McDaniel let me borrow her clubs for a little while.”

During the 2022 season, Garza was undaunted by the 61-67-66 start. She had the resolve to close the season with a 14-over 49 at Salem Glen.

“Her positive nature never left her as she was learning to play,” Donley said. “She always found a way to set realistic expectations for herself, and really embraced playing golf one stroke at a time and not allowing one bad shot to influence the next shot.”

This year, Garza has turned one corner after another. She shot 59, then 56, then 52, then 51. She hit another level at Bermuda Run West, recording five bogeys and one par on the way to the 45. After averaging 57.6 strokes as a junior, her senior average is now 54.8.

Garza feels great about her progress.

“I like to keep a positive attitude and positive mentality,” she said. “That helps me get that lower score.”

As a team, the War Eagles are becoming increasingly balanced. Junior Kate Sakai (47) parred two par-3s and broke 50 for the fourth consecutive round. Junior Reese Ward shot a season-best 15-over 49, and Callie Wisecarver followed with a 51.

The team scores were Reagan 98, West Forsyth 107, Reynolds 138, Davie 141, Mt. Tabor 149.