Jamie Donizio admits she hasn’t played well in previous trips to the Class 4A state golf tournament.
But the Basic junior insists this year is different.
“When I was a freshman, I was really nervous,” said Donizio, who qualified as a freshman and sophomore. “I didn’t know what any of the tournaments would be like. But now it’s like any other tournament. It’s not as hard.”
Donizio looks to qualify for a third time at the Sunrise Region meet today at Dragon Ridge. The Sunset Region plays Wednesday at Silverstone.
Golf has always been a family affair for Donizio, who learned the game from her late grandfather and regularly plays with her father, an uncle and a cousin, who are all avid golfers.
“A cousin who is four years older than me got into it,” said Donizio, who averages 78.8 strokes. “I always wanted to do what she did; so because she golfed, I wanted to golf.”
Donizio’s family-oriented approach to the game extends to her team, despite differing practice schedules resulting from the junior’s classes at Nevada State High School. Teammate Courtney Hagen also qualified for the region meet.
“We’ve become great friends,” said Donizio, who attended Basic for two years. “We have so much in common because we all golf. I love them all (on the team). They’re like a little golf family.”
Defending state champion Green Valley and Coronado combined to sweep the regular-season Southeast League meets, and are favored to advance as teams to state. But Donizio’s experience at high-level tournaments could give her an edge in the individual standings.
The top two teams and top five individuals in each of Nevada’s three regions qualify for state.
Hagen missed qualifying for state last year by one stroke, but has nearly matched Donizio this season.
“When Jamie and Courtney came (to Basic as freshmen), I was thrilled that they already knew what they were doing,” Basic coach Kristin Pohl said. “The first practice we had, Jamie and Courtney blew me away. They were amazing kids right off the bat.”
Pohl compared Donizio to former NFL All-Pro linebacker Junior Seau, not only in ability but also in her confidence and willingness to lead even while on the sideline.
“I have the other girls watch Jamie, and watch how she hits it, and how she carries herself with confidence,” Pohl said. “She never argues, just nods and moves on. She’s a coach’s dream because she’s so easy to coach.”
Donizio carded a two-day 179 to finish 25th at the 2010 state tourney at Hidden Valley in Reno, but a schedule of summer tournaments and a need to prove herself to college coaches has her striving for a top-10 finish.
“I’m looking forward to playing my game, because it’s a lot better than last year,” said Donizio, who is drawing interest from Colorado and Arizona State. “I was really nervous last year and shot really bad scores at state. This year, I’ve played so many out-of-state tournaments that this is just another tournament.”
Contact reporter Sean Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0430.In-depth high school sports coverage