Keeping the ball in play hasn’t been be an issue for Elizabeth Kondal. The recent Bartram Trail graduate and Florida Times-Union 2020 high school player of the year has been in a nice groove since the FHSAA post-season last fall, with eight top-10 finishes in nine starts in high school and Florida State Golf Association events.
It’s her putting – or rather her patience – that was the only issue.
Kondal held in her frustration over some early missed chances on Friday in the first round of the Florida Women’s Stroke Play Championship and played her last five holes at 3-under to finish with a 69 at the Amelia Island Club at Long Point, one shot off the lead held by Kim Benedict of Bonita Springs and tied for second with Valeria Sofia Pacheco of Hallandale.
Benedict, a three-time Michigan state amateur champion and former University of Michigan player, is a teacher and coach. Pacheco is a junior at Texas Christian.
University of Florida junior Jenny Kim of Heathrow, Mississippi State junior Lauren Miller of Niceville and 17-year-old Angelica Holman of Fort Pierce tied at 2-under 70. With tame winds and a soft course because of recent rain, 13 players matched par or better.
After mixing an early bogey and a and 18-foot birdie putt at No. 7, Kondal pounced, beginning with a tap-in birdie at the par-4 14th hole after nearly holing a wedge from 104 yards. She dropped a 15-footer for birdie at the par-3 15th after hitting a 7-iron off the tee, and after getting up-and-down for par at the 16th, she birdied No. 17 on a 12-foot putt.
Kondal had a good look at birdie at the par-5 18th but the putt stayed on the right side in her bid to join Bendict at 4-under.
The incoming Rollins College student was still happy with her finish.
“I was very patient because at first the putts weren’t dropping,” she said. “It was about continuing to give myself chances and they started dropping on the back nine.”
Kondal is coming off a ninth-place finish at the Florida Junior Girls and qualified for match play in the Florida Women’s Amateur, winning her first-round match.
She also has a pair of top-fives in Florida Junior Tour events and and finished 10th in another across A1A at Oak Marsh in March.
With her swing in a good place, Kondal has put in most of her work this summer on the greens.
“I’ve been working on my speed,” she said. “If I don’t have the right speed, my line doesn’t matter. I wasn’t giving myself enough chances. It was short, long … very inconsistent. It’s been getting better.”
Kondal also has a goal in mind: qualifying for the starting five at Rollins.
“I’m very excited to get there,” she said of the Orlando NCAA Division II golf powerhouse. “I found out our first fall tournament is in Boston and I really want to be there.”
Four players are tied at 1-under 71, three of them on current college rosters: Abigail Herrmann of Pensacola (Memphis), Claire Vermette of St. Petersburgh (Jacksonville State) and Elle Nachmann of Boca Raton (Penn).
Among the players tied at even-par are Jennifer Jung of Oveido, a future Rollins teammate with Kondal, and Augustina Gomez Cisterna of Bradenton (Louisville).
The next highest area player after Kondal is Anika Richards of Fernandina Beach, who is tied for 14th at 1-over 73.
Florida Women’s Stroke Play Championship
At Amelia Island Club at Long Point (par-72)
Area players in bold
Kim Benedict, Bonita Springs 35-33—68
Elizabeth Kondal, St. Augustine 36-33–69
Valeria Sofia Pacheco, Hallandale 35-34–69
Lauren Miller, Niceville 36-34–70
Angelica Holman, Ft. Pierce 34-36–70
Jenny Kim, Heathrow 35-35–70
Abigail Herrmann, Pensacola 37-34—71
Claire Vermette, St. Petersburg 36-35–71
Carla Alvarez Perez, Howey-in-the-Hills 37-34–71
Elle Nachmann, Boca Raton 34-37–71
Jennifer Jung, Oveido 36-36–72
Augustina Gomez Cisterna, Bradenton 38-34–72
Lauren Clark, Orlando 35-37–72
Anika Richards, Fernandina Beach 36-37–73
Brooke Oberparleiter, Jupiter 36-37–73
Kendall Griffin, Sebring 37-36–73
Arantza Armas Stenner, Howey-in-the-Hills 37-37–74
Bianca Sol Cruz, Largo 36-38–74
Rachel Gomez, Pembroke Pines 37-37–74
Shelby Brauckmuller, Auburndale 36-38–74
Amelia Williams, Gainesville 37-38–75
Jordyn Hodgson, Kissimmee; 37-38–75
Ryleigh Knaub, Winter Springs 38-37–75
Morgan Pankow, Pinecrest 35-40–75
Mindy Herrick, UNF 35-41–76
Jamie Freedman, Aventura 39-37–76
Bella Dovhey, Orlando 39-37–76
Taylor Zeng, Windermere 38-38–76
Loren Perez, Bartow 36-40–76
Sabree Lefebvre, Riverview 37-39–76
Casey Sommer, Davie 36-40–76
Mackenzie McCormack, Jacksonville 40-36—76
Elle Johnson, Tallahassee 37-39–76
Aaron Whitley, Osprey 38-39–77
Brianna Castaldi, Port St. Lucie 38-39–77
Grace Grant, Bradenton 39-38–77
Jenna Fonda, Wellington 36-41–77
Lisa Colee, DeLand 41-37–78
Marissa Cardenas, St. Augustine 41-37–78
Meiyi Yan, Windermere 41-37–78
Heather Wall, Pompano Beach 38-40–78
Madison Heideman, Largo 41-37–78
Julia Towne, Eustis 39-39–78
Ailsa Clark, Bradenton 37-42–79
Izzy Pellot, Altamonte Springs 38-41–79
Wyndom Burnett, Citrus Springs 38-41–79
Rachel DeAngulo, Miami 39-40–79
Maddie Rathjen, St. Augustine 39-40–79
Lily Celentano, Weston 38-41–79
Isabella Dolan, St. Petersburg 40-39–79
Kayla Holden, Coral Springs 40-39–79
Madyson Gold, Bonita Springs 39-41–80
Mary Elise Schultz, Milton 41-39–80
Sara McKevitt, Ponte Vedra Beach 42-38–80
Ashley Zagers, Oldsmar 38-42–80
Katelin Richards, Fernandina Beach 37-43–80
Abigail Stetz, Lakeland 40-41–81
Claudia Hofmeister, Tampa 38-43–81
Christina Steffan, Fernandina Beach 41-40–81
Madison Tenore, Destin 40-41–81
Chelsea Nguyen, Oveido 43-38–81
Ana Laura Collado Diaz, Lake Mary 37-45–82
Valentina Marie Guerin, Boynton Beach 42-40–82
Faviola Gonzalez, Clearwater 42-40–82
Sophie Shrader, Naples 40-43–83
Apryl Parker, St. Augustine 45-38–83
Mary Kate Smith; Melbourne 41-42–83
Payton Pacheco, Pensacola 43-40–83
Taylor Oberparleiter, Jupiter 38-45–83
Debra Burdeshaw, Panama City Beach 39-45–84
Caroline Nemes, Orlando 39-45–84
Briana Gabe, Melbourne 41-44–85
Angelina Marie Guertin, Boynton Beach 44-41–85
Alexandra Drum, Ponte Vedra Beach 44-42–86
Tabitha Hanely, Bradenton 43-43–86
Lily Rinker, Jupiter 40-47–87
Madelyn Campbell, Fernandina Beach 42-45–87
Madison Balaskiewicz, Jacksonville 45-44–89
Tori Mouton, St. Johns 39-51–90
Karen Fisher, Palm Coast 46-48–94
Angelina Quinn, Jupiter 50-54–104