After winning the biggest golf tournament of her young career, Alexandra Gazzoli told an interviewer that the accomplishment hadn’t sunk in yet.
The Palm Coast teen prevailed in a playoff to win the Florida State Golf Association’s Women’s Amateur Stroke Play Championship on July 9 at TPC Treviso Bay in Naples.
“I’d say this is the biggest event I’ve won,” she said last week after having had time to reflect on her triumph. “I’m grateful I got the opportunity to play in it, be in the final group and be in a playoff.”
Gazzoli, 17 and a student with Florida Virtual School, has committed to play golf for Florida State University next year. She plays golf for Matanzas High and won the Class 2A state girls high school championship last November after finishing third as a freshman and second as a sophomore.
In the Women’s Amateur Stroke Play Championship, the rising senior defeated Oklahoma State University golfer Jacqui Putrino on the second playoff hole after both golfers shot a 2-under 214 over three rounds on July 7-9.
I think I played well over the three days. But I definitely have some things I can improve on. That definitely gives me some confidence, because I didn’t play my best and I still did well.”
— ALEXANDRA GAZZOLI
On the first playoff hole, the leaders each shot 5 for par on No. 18. Gazzoli then clinched the championship with a 4 for par on No. 1, while Putrino missed her par putt. Gazzoli’s celebration was low-key.
“I’m not someone to get super excited,” she said.
She shot 68-74-72 and led or shared the lead after each round. She had nine birdies in the tournament, including five on the first day, when she took a 2-shot lead.
Gazzoli and Putrino traded the lead four times on the final day. Gazzoli went up by two strokes after Putrino had a double bogey on 14 and a bogey on 15. But Putrino birdied the next two holes to force another tie, and both golfers parred No. 18 to force the playoff.
“I think I played well over the three days,” Gazzoli said. “But I definitely have some things I can improve on. That definitely gives me some confidence, because I didn’t play my best and I still did well.”
After winning the tournament, Gazzoli took a rare day off.
“Maybe the next morning (it sunk in),” she said. “My dad wasn’t able to talk to me (during play), so we talked about my rounds. I took that day off, and the next day I went back to practicing, and we worked on things I needed to work on.”
Her dad, Robert Gazzoli, played golf for Flagler Palm Coast High School and taught Alexandra’s two older brothers how to play. Alexandra tagged along and eventually became the star golfer in the family.
“She kind of grew up with a golf club in her hands since she was 2,” said Sheila Gazzoli, Alexandra’s mom. “It takes a special person to love the grind of practice, and she took to it at a very young age. She just enjoyed practicing on the range for hours. She grew up on golf courses, pretty much.”
When Alexandra Gazzoli is not playing in a tournament, she usually can be found practicing at Hammock Dunes Club.
“I’m on the course every day unless I’m sick or it’s a holiday or I’m super tired,” she said. “Otherwise it’s every day.”
Gazzoli said she is ready to move on from junior golf to college and amateur play. But first she has one more high school season, which she hopes to cap off by defending her state title. The past two years, she competed at state as an individual. This year, she’d like to play with her Pirates’ teammates again.
“It’s my last year, and I’m hoping we can make it as a team,” she said. “That will be a lot of fun.”