If Daniela Andrade keeps ascending this off-season, it’s not far-fetched to think she could be in contention for a top-five finish in the Central Coast Section Golf Championships next year.
The Sobrato High junior recently capped the best season of her career by shooting a 6-over par 78 at Laguna Seca Golf Ranch on Nov. 2, good for a tie for 24th place with five other golfers.
“I’m pretty satisfied with the season I had and thought I did pretty good,” she said. “I ranked third in the league, so I’m pretty happy with that.”
Andrade shot an 85 in the CCS Championships as a freshman, and she thinks she can be at least a couple of strokes better at this same time next year. The highlight of her recent round at Laguna Seca came on the par-5 fifth hole, where she made eagle. Andrade hit a nice drive off the tee before nailing a long iron down the fairway, which left her 56 yards for her eagle attempt.
She then utilized her favorite club—a 54 degree wedge—resulting in a shot that took one bounce on the green before going into the hole. As you can imagine, Andrade was pretty excited about the turn of events.
“My playing partner was pretty stoked about it and I thought it was pretty cool,” she said. “But it’s golf and you have to refocus and go onto the next hole.”
Focused is one way to describe Andrade, who arrived at the golf course just 20 minutes before her tee time due to bumper-to-bumper traffic. Despite having no warmup, Andrade started off well on the first hole with her only hiccups being a double and triple bogey later in the round.
The high point of Andrade’s Blossom Valley League Mount Hamilton Division season came in a Sept. 23 match against Silver Creek at Los Lagos Golf Course.
Playing without her trusty rangefinder device—which lets a golfer know the exact yardage to a hole—Andrade had to rely on her experience and instincts every time she hit a ball after the tee shot. She ended up being the medalist that day, giving her confidence the next time that situation occurs.
“I was guessing all the yardage, eyeballing it and ended up shooting 3-under par which was my lowest round of the season,” she said. “After the round, my coach kept telling me I need to leave the rangefinder at home.”
Andrade said she drives the ball well, averaging 230 to 240 yards off the tee. It’s no coincidence that her favorite clubs are her driver and the aforementioned 54 degree wedge. She plays year-round and with the help of her private coach, Matt Soza, will be focusing on key areas of the game this off-season.
“I want to build more strength, hit the ball farther and clean up some of my mistakes,” she said. “I also want to improve my short game with chipping and putting. And I want to get closer to the flag to give myself more opportunities for birdie.”
Andrade grew up playing both golf and soccer, and for a while thought the latter sport would be the one she would focus all of her efforts on. However, once Andrade went all in on golf at the age of 13 or 14—dropping soccer in the process—she noticed immediate improvement.
“Golf is a way better opportunity for me especially with the skill I had at a young age,” she said.
Andrade said she has a 4.0-plus GPA and is working with both Soza and Valley Christian coach Scott Hathaway—who is also the general manager of Los Lagos—in her quest to earn a scholarship to play at a four-year college.
“They’re starting to work with me so I can get to that level,” she said.
Sports editor Emanuel Lee can be reached at [email protected] and (831) 886-0471, ext. 3958.