By Adam Yoder
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – As the snow flew last weekend across Michiana for the first time in any significant amount, NorthWood junior golfer Cybil Stillson was busy getting back into tournament golf in St. Augustine, Florida, in the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour’s World Golf Village Open.
Stillson, who finished tied for 17th in the IHSAA State Finals in October en route to all-state honors for the third straight time, last competed in the Indiana Junior Golf’s Hoosier Junior Golf Championship in Columbus, IN, the week after the state finals. She finished tied for sixth, where a chance to take the title faded in round two on the back nine at Otter Creek.
After a couple of months of practice (and rest) at McCormick Creek in Nappanee, Stillson had become much more comfortable with her game and her swing.
So, when a trip to the sunshine state presented itself, Stillson saw a welcomed opportunity to get back into tournament golf. She took advantage of her late entrance into the field by shooting a two-round total of 154 (79-75) to finish 4th in a field that included players from Canada, Florida, California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana.
In reference to her performance, the junior ace said, “Overall, I was happy with my performance in Florida. I was confident with my game and was happy to see the changes I have made since HS season work on the course. Since the end of the HS season I have simplified my game quite a bit… just going back off feel and what feels natural to me. This summer I somewhat veered away from my natural swing and I just wasn’t playing good golf. So, it was fun to play relaxed, go off feel, and play my game this past weekend.”
In round two, Stillson carded five bogeys and two birdies on a wet and windy day that saw the field shoot an average of 83.8.
Stillson was quick to mention how rewarding the experience was. “The Slammer & Squire golf course was a lot of fun to play.
For me, these larger tournaments are such great learning experiences to play out of state, on different courses with different conditions compared to Indiana, and play with girls who have goals like mine,” Stillson said.
Her sister, Summer (a recent St. Mary’s College graduate and former NorthWood star), was in attendance and giving her advice. For the weekend, Stillson hit 26 of 28 fairways and 23 of 36 greens in regulation, according to Summer’s statistics.
“Summer was there, and it’s always fun to have her at my tournaments since she is who got me into golf. She can talk with me after my rounds about different shots and course management,” Stillson continued.
Stillson is currently a student in NorthWood head coach Adam Yoder’s dual credit United States history course offered through Trine University and NorthWood High School.
“We toured the historic downtown of St Augustine. We got to walk through the historic fort, the city, and Flagler College, and learn about the history of St Augustine which was definitely a neat experience,” Stillson noted.
Stillson is continuing to attend NorthWood High School as a ‘remote’ student during the pandemic as she has throughout this school year. That has made the required travel that elite junior golfers have to make, even easier.
Her winter schedule is not completely set, but she is planning on traveling to Florida, Kentucky, and possibly a few other southern states through the winter season to play in tournaments and college-prep tournaments.
Elizabeth Kondal, a hometown player from St. Augustine, won the event with a two-round total of 146 (74-72). Kathryn Robinson of American Canyon, CA, tied for runner-up honors with Ashley Huffman of Ponte Vedre Beach, FL at 150. All three are currently high school seniors.
Full results of the event that can be found at the tournament site.