The comparisons are often.
Gabrielle Tomeo is happy people make them.
Older sister Gianna played in the Florida High School Athletic Associate girls state golf tournament all four years at Manatee High.
Gabrielle will tee it up for the third straight season when the 3A state tournament’s first round begins Tuesday at Mission Inn Resort and Club’s Las Colinas course in Howey-in-the-Hills.
“She’s my best friend, so it’s kind of flattering in a way,” Tomeo said. “She has everything I want, so I guess if I can get compared to her that would be a good thing.”
Part of what Gianna has is using golf as a vehicle to further her education. Gianna went from qualifying for four state tournaments to a scholarship with Seton Hall, where she’s a sophomore on the women’s golf team.
As a freshman, Gabrielle played with Gianna and had dreams of playing on the LPGA Tour. That’s still there, but she’s also prepared for the educational aspect should she not make it in professional golf.
Looking at Duke University sparked the change, but she’s now locked in on attending an Ivy League school in her post-Manatee life.
Just a junior, Gabrielle has visited Columbia and chatted with officials from Princeton and Yale, and non-Ivy League school Pepperdine.
“It’s hard to tell right now, because ... I don’t know where I’m going to be in my game at that time in my life,” Tomeo said.
Where she is in her game at the moment is a third straight state tournament appearance. As a freshman, the goal was a top 10 finish. Last year and this season, the goal is to win.
Tomeo carded a 6-over par 150 total to tie for seventh place.
Now she’s gotten even better.
Practicing 20 hours a week with instructor Tim Sheredy in Lakewood Ranch elevated her game. Tomeo, who is ranked No. 92 by GolfWeek, won the American Junior Golf Association’s EaglesDream Golf Academy Junior Open in early August at Lake Mary’s Timacuan Golf and Country Club.
But there wasn’t a doubt that she’d continue her high school career, despite success on the national circuit. Only last year’s AJGA PING Invitational, which occurred around the time of the district golf tournament, stood in Tomeo’s way. But she didn’t qualify, so the high school season remained her main focus.
“I feel like I’m coming from Manatee and I’m representing my school and Bradenton,” Tomeo said. “And I feel like I need to do it for them, too. And they want me to go. I know people are rooting for me at home.”
Manatee County’s other state golfers
Tomeo isn’t the only local participant in this week’s state golf tournament. The Lakewood Ranch girls team earned its second straight region championship last week to book a return trip to states.
Maya Isom, who didn’t play in last year’s state tourney, is getting her shot this season after posting a 79 in last week’s region tourney. Isom and Natalie Robson tied for the best score on the team last week. Other team members include Ashley Einwachter, Ashley Ringo and Darby Laurvick.
The Lakewood Ranch boys shocked last week’s 3A-Region 5 field at Lake Suzy’s Kingsway Country Club. The Mustangs finished runner-up to grab a state tournament berth just a week after taking third in the district tournament.
Head coach John Victor said following the district tournament at Sarasota’s Bent Tree Country Club that he kept telling his players that it didn’t matter if they weren’t playing well at the beginning of the year. It mattered that they played their best golf at the end.
Based on the dramatic result, the Mustangs are playing their best at the moment. Drew Angelo, Louis DelFabro, Billy Herten, Mike Wijas and Dylan Gabbert begin the 3A boys tourney on Mission Inn’s El Campeon course on Tuesday.
Later this week, the Saint Stephen’s boys and girls teams are competing in the 1A state tournament. The Falcons’ boys and girls teams are region champions for a third consecutive year. Massimo Mbetse, David Gao, Ryan Kinkead, David Hu and Alan Klenor lead a boys team that’s finished seventh and fifth in the last two years, respectively. Vanessa Yan, Maria Huang, Kendall Miller and Catherine Huang are representing the girls team at states. The Falcons boys and girls teams begin the 1A state tournament Friday, with the final round scheduled for Saturday.