Niceville junior Madison Tenore wins her second straight Daily News Female Golfer of the Year award
NICEVILLE — Eleven birdies. A 5-under-par total.
Over the course of two days at the 3A state tournament, Madison Tenore did everything in her power to win herself and Niceville a title.
The junior delivered seven birdies alone on the final day, four coming on the back nine en route to a 3-under 69. That followed a 70 to secure her eighth straight round of even par or better.
Had it not been for Riverview’s Jacqueline Putrino, Tenore would be in a playoff with East Lake’s Madison Hewlett for the state title.
Had it not been for Jupiter, the Niceville girls would be state champions.
The simple heartache of finishing second, though, was compounded soon after when Tenore self-reported that she signed for the wrong scorecard.
From second to last she fell.
From second to fifth the team fell.
It was a scene she wouldn’t wish upon her worst enemy. The latter affected her more.
"My team, they’re so wonderful," Tenore said. "It wasn’t that I didn’t get to finish second; it was that they fell from second to fifth. I was crying afterward and they came up to me one-by-one saying it’s going to be OK.
"I love them. We’re such a family."
Win as a family. Lose as a family.
Even with the mistake and an Eagles squad defined by its season-long depth and parity, Tenore was the clear choice for a second straight Player of the Year honor.
"It feels wonderful," Tenore said. "Personally, the goal is always for the team to get first, and then individually to get first-place as well. I know if I’m playing my best, that’ll help the team out."
And it did for nearly the whole season.
Tenore fired a 1-under 71 at the Miracle Strip Invitational.
She carded a pair of 1-under 71s at districts and regionals.
Then at state she was 11 strokes clear (scorecard indiscretion aside) of teammates Paola Rosario and Alia Scotka, her postseason scoring average coming in at 70.25.
"My mindset is to just play my best every tournament," Tenore said. "You practice hard to get to this moment, and you can only focus on the next shot, the next hole. The goal is to get better every time out."
Tenore’s consistency stems from the fact her game has no clear holes.
She stripes it between 220 yards and 240 down the pipe off the tee.
That length typically leaves her easily with 135 yards and in on approach shots – the go-zone of you will.
"Yeah, I expect to stick those," she said.
As for her short game, it’s all about repetition.
Same grip, same stance, same stroke.
"When you practice continuously and putt at the same distance, then move onto another distance when you have that down, it helps your confidence," Tenore said.
And, coupled with her experience at state, a basic tenant applies to Tenore’s practice routine.
"Don’t get down on yourself and have a great attitude," she said.
As for the goals in her swan song? Simple.
"A state title, for sure, both individually and for the team," she said.