Amanda Gartrell broke through an invisible barrier last week, finishing in a tie for fourth at the Eggland’s Best Golf Tour event at Dubsdread Golf Club in Orlando to earn her first paycheck as a professional.
In March, Gartrell’s final, record-breaking season at Florida Southern came to an early end with COVID-19 concerns ruining any chance at a national championship for the local Lake Gibson product. Soon-after, the 23-year-old made the decision to forgo a second senior season that had been granted by the NCAA, opting to turn professional and chase her dream of playing on the LPGA Tour. It didn’t take long for the 22-year-old to learn how tough that road would be.
“I’ve struggled mentally the last few months with doubts if I could compete at this level,” said Gartrell. “It is a boost of confidence to have placed highly again against a new field of very competitive golfers.”
After a string of disappointing finishes to begin her professional career, Gartrell found her stride on the difficult, tight Dubsdread course.
In the opening round, Gartrell played steady golf, carding a solid 73 to put herself just 5 strokes off the lead. In round two, Gartrell had her best round as a professional, turning in 37 and 34 for a 71, and vaulted up the leaderboard going into the final round of the 54-hole event.
In the last round, Gartrell got off to a bumpy start, carding back-to-back bogeys to open her round. From there, however, she showed the poise of a veteran, steadying herself with three pars before birdieing the par-4 sixth. She added another birdie on 10, and another on her closing hole to finish with another 71 and a tie for fourth.
“It is extremely exciting to be able to turn my passion into a career. It’s never been about money to me, it’s more of an accomplishment to feel the hard work paying off.”
While the Dubsdread event concludes the 2020 season for the Eggland’s Best Tour, Gartrell believes her professional career is just getting started.
“My short-term goal is to build my confidence and gain experience. Long term, I’d like to go all the way to LPGA Q-school next October.”
45th annual Florida Southern Pop Sikes Golf Day
On Thursday at Lone Palm, the Florida Southern men’s golf program is hosting the Pop Sikes Golf Day for the 45th time.
Entry to the tournament is $200 per player or $800 per foursome, which includes a boxed lunch, golf with a cart, a social hour, awards and dinner.
The tournament awards gross and net winners and is played in a scramble format.
Sponsorship is available, with a title sponsorship at $5,000, a cart sponsor at $2,500, lunch sponsor at $1,000, and a hole sponsor at $150.
“With the financial support of our community, alumni, and friends, we have continued our rich tradition of winning National Championships and producing top student athletes who succeed on and off the course,” coach Lee White said.
To register, make checks payable to Florida Southern Men’s Golf and return to: 111 Lake Hollingsworth Dr. Lakeland, FL 33801. For questions, contact Finlay Allen at. 863-680-4109 or at [email protected]
Plant City Booster Club at Cleveland Heights
On Nov. 14, the annual Plant City Booster Club golf tournament will take place at Cleveland Heights Golf Course, beginning with an 8 a.m. shotgun start.
The focus of the event is raising money for the support of all athletic programs and student athletes at Plant City High School. The event is $300 per team, or $75 for an individual. For more information, contact Rhett Rollyson at 813-719-0158.
Ledger golf correspondent Joel Helm can be reached at [email protected].