By Dalton Balthaser
Alexis Florio didn’t waste any time getting adjusted to playing golf at the Division I level.
As a freshman at Columbia University in New York, she had the lowest scoring average (76.18) and led the team with three Top-10 finishes.
“I didn’t have a hard time adjusting to golf in college,” said Florio, 19, of Cranston, R.I. “I am used to having to travel to play tournaments on the weekends and make golf a priority. You learn how to manage your time better with all of the different responsibilities as a student-athlete.”
Florio, of Alpine Country Club, continued to build off that momentum to claim medalist honors and the No. 1 seed in the Rhode Island Golf Association’s Women’s Amateur at Valley Country Club Monday after a round of 73 (par 72, 5,636 yards).
She will play No. 16 seed Wendy Ossman, of Metacomet Golf Club, in the Round of 16 Tuesday at 8 a.m.
Defending champion Lisa McGill, of The Misquamicut Club, shot 74 and will be the No. 2 seed. She will play No. 15 seed Marilyn Weigner of Ledgemont Country Club at 8:32 a.m.
“This course was playing shorter than I am used to,” said Florio. “Most holes I could drive it close and rely on my wedges. But my wedges weren’t close to the hole today. I hit a few shots that I wasn’t committed to. But with match play coming up I figured it would be good to get familiar with shots I am uncomfortable with to be better prepared for the upcoming days.”
She made a total of five birdies and on four of them, she made a bogey on the next hole.
She had three 3-putt bogeys on the card but her firepower helped eliminate some of her mistakes.
Florio carded an even-par 36 on the front nine mixed with two bogeys and two birdies on Nos. 6 (par 3, 112 yards) and 9 (par 4, 360 yards).
She hit a 9-iron to 15 feet on No. 6 and a 6-iron from 146 yards to 10 feet on No. 9 to balance out the bogeys.
“I enjoyed Valley a lot,” said Florio. “I like to strategize my way around the golf course. Hitting it long doesn’t necessarily mean you will score well. You have to pick where you want to be aggressive.”
Her laser-like ball-striking showed on Nos. 12 (par 3, 102 yards) and 14 (par 4, 316 yards) after stuffing wedge shots to 10 feet on both holes. The longest birdie putt she made all day was 15 feet.
A two-putt birdie on No. 16 (par 5, 403 yards) was her fifth and final one of the round. She only made two pars on the back nine to get in at 73.
“Going forward I need to trust myself and commit to each shot I hit,” said Florio. “Some of the pins will be accessible this week and I should attack them. I need to know when to tell myself to hit it in the center of the green on the harder hole locations and give myself a chance at birdie.”