High School Sports

Manatee High's Tomeo sisters qualify for state golf tournament

BRADENTON -- It was a deciding factor in Gianna Tomeo choosing to play girls golf for the Manatee Hurricanes, instead of attending Saint Stephen's.

That reason was the chance to play her senior season with younger sister Gabrielle, and vie for a state tournament appearance.

Following Monday's Class 3A-Region 5 tournament at Bradenton Country Club, that dream became a reality.

Both Gianna and Gabrielle fired 3-over par 75s to secure the two individual state tournament berths that were up for grabs.

Manatee finished in third place with a 363 total, just 11 shots behind the final team qualifying score produced by Plant City.

Venice won the region with a scorching 331.

But teeing off in the first two groups off the back nine, the Tomeo sisters weren't assured of anything when they turned in their scorecards.

They had to wait and see how the rest of the field stacked up to their posted 75s.

Only Plant City's Kendall Johnson fared better with a 74. And since Plant City qualified as a team, the individual berths went to the Tomeo sisters.

"We were all debating whether we were going to watch the playoff if it happened," Manatee head coach Alan Johnson said. "Because nobody wanted to see it."

Gianna began with a 1-under par tally for her front nine, which began on the back side. Then her 13th hole, the fourth hole on the course, happened.

Gianna started stumbling a bit and said it was iffy at that point if she would make it.

Meanwhile, Gabrielle began her day with a triple bogey, but a birdie on the 11th hole quickly got her back on point.

She said she told herself there were still 17 holes remaining after that terrible start.

Nonetheless, they righted the ship at their home course and advanced to share a trip to the Class 3A

state tournament, scheduled for next Tuesday and Wednesday at Deer Island Golf and Lake Club in Tavares.

"If anything was really beneficial, it was knowing which greens break," Gianna Tomeo said. "Some greens break more than others."

Added Gabrielle: "Yeah, you can't see it."

It's the fourth straight appearance for Gianna, a senior, while Gabrielle, a freshman, is making her first playing appearance. She's been to the state tournament in the past few years to watch Gianna play.

This is also the first time the two will see Deer Island, and they said they plan on getting in at least a couple practice rounds before the 36-hole event starts.

Gianna said she needs to get her iron game to be sharper, while Gabrielle said she needs to work on her putting ahead of the state tourney.

Lakewood Ranch also competed, compiling a 374 total for a fifth place finish.

Theresa Morrissey posted an 86 to lead the Mustangs.

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