Eva Heinz shouldered the No. 1 role for the Desert Edge girls’ golf team in her freshman season. She finished it with a solid showing at the Division II state tournament at the Sonoran Course in Tucson Oct. 28-29.
Heinz finished 33rd out of 80 golfers, a field comprised mostly of upperclassmen. She finished 29 over par, shooting an 85 on day one, and an 86 the following afternoon.
Heinz stormed off to a superb start. Through her first 12 holes, she was trailing the leader by a handful of strokes, sitting in fourth-place.
That was until she became doomed by the self-proclaimed “blow-up hole.”
“It was a par three,” she said, “and I had pulled my tee shot left into the desert. I had to take a drop because I was behind a bush and couldn’t swing at the ball.”
The penalty for the errant shot tacked on a few strokes, and before she knew it, she departed hole No. 3 with an eight, five strokes over par. It plummeted her ranking and all but derailed any vision of a top-ten finish.
“After that, it was a few bad shots in a row. It kind of shows how consistent you really need to be,” she said.
Due to the abundance of golfers, Heinz had to start her first round on hole No. 11. The “blow-up hole” took place on the course’s third hole, but ended up being the 11th hole of her round.
She entered the tournament with little expectations. For starters, it wasn’t until nearly the end of the regular season when it dawned on her that her play in the regular season would allow her to qualify for the state tournament.
She was simply hoping her two rounds competing against the top golfers in the state would be rich with learning experiences.
And it was.
“That first day, I was actually keeping pace with some of the top-15 ranked players until that blow-up hole,” she said. “But it shows I can be a threat, and I have to just keep going and keep pushing.”
Her passion for golf has been passed down to her by her parents, who both play. She’s been playing for the last four-and-a-half years, with each passing year seeing improvements and better results, and also a heightened love for the game.
Heinz’s next three years appear primed for better results at the state tournament. The countdown for next year has already begun, with Heinz already outlining an intense golf schedule from now until next school year.
She has signed up for four tournaments over the next month. Over the summer, she’ll really beef up her training, with five practices throughout the week and tournament play on the weekends.
“I’m a year-round player,” she said. “It’s definitely my passion.”
Her goal is to move up the leaderboard at next year’s tournament, through rigorous training and practice over the course of the next year.
“I just shoot for improving every year, really,” she said. “There’s nothing more you can hope for. I can’t wish from going 33rd to first in a year, so it’s just about improvement and consistency. That’s the plan.”