Golf: Friendswood’s Heidi Demel eyes state tournament
Heidi Demel only had an inkling of the score she’d need to produce to reach the University Interscholastic League state golf tournament so she just resorted to the universal approach of every successful golfer - take it one shot at a time.
On a course which required precision more than anything else, the Friendswood golfer carded rounds of 79 and 80 at La Torretta Golf Club at the Region III-5A tournament two weeks ago, and that two-day total earned her a ticket to the state event.
While those rounds may not have been eye-opening, they were a model of consistency which the majority of Demel’s fellow competitors couldn’t match on the narrow layout.
As a result, the Lady Mustang junior finished sixth and will compete May 13-14 at White Wing Golf Club in Georgetown to cap a banner season.
Her steady play at the regional event in Magnolia will have to be reproduced at the state level.
“I hit one bad shot and it turned into a really bad hole, but other than that I was consistent the whole tournament,” Demel said.
“The greens were definitely very fast, and it was hard adjusting to it. I was just trying to get comfortable the first day, and then the second day was really nerve-wracking.”
Demel used a well-honed short game to save strokes throughout the tournament.
“Her ball-striking was really good both days,” Friendswood head coach Scott Smith said. “Her misses were small. When she wasn’t on the green, she was very near it.
“La Torretta is really tight with a lot of trees. She kept her ball in play, and if you can do that, you can score well there. There are a lot of places to get in trouble on that course, and a lot of girls found that trouble.”
Demel, who won the District 22-5A tournament with consecutive rounds of 74, said her primary focus is hitting greens in regulation.
“Me and my dad practice my short game a lot,” she said. “Landing greens and putting…that was what I concentrated on a lot last summer.
“On the par-3s, I birdied two of them. One, I hit it to within eight feet, and the other was about a foot. Both of those came on the first day.
“The second day was really windy, and you just didn’t want to go left or right. You had to put it in the fairway, and hitting the greens was tough.”
Demel said she practices regularly with teammate Hannah Johnston at Golfcrest Country Club in Pearland, Timber Creek Golf Club in Friendswood, and Magnolia Creek Golf Club in League City.
“They all have fast greens,” Demel said, “and that’s what I need to work on. Other than putting, my ball has this little hook to the left, and I’m working straightening that out.
“I’m definitely nervous for state, but I’m also pretty confident in myself.”
Smith said if Demel can maintain her composure at state, she has no limitations.
“At regional, she gave herself a lot of opportunities at par,” he said. “Getting up-and-down is the only way to break 80.
“It was a battle, a grind. She had to fight through some tough holes, but she has the mental game to do that.”
Demel said playing in high-quality tournaments has improved her game.
“Over the summer, I have a lot of out-of-state tournaments,” she said. “In those tournaments, there are girls that come from all over the world, and that’s good, because it lets me know where I stand.
“I’m going up against the best of the best. That definitely makes me more competitive. My goal at state is to focus on me and nothing else.
“I’m not concerned as much where I place, just as long as I play well.”