Cranston native and former West standout golfer Alexis Florio won the Rhode Island Golf Association's women's amateur title last week, edging 13-year-old phenom Gianna Papa by a stroke to take home the victory. Floria faced quite a bit
By ALEX SPONSELLER Cranston native and former West standout golfer Alexis Florio won the Rhode Island Golf Association’s women’s amateur title last week, edging 13-year-old phenom Gianna Papa by a stroke to take home the victory.
Floria faced quite a bit of adversity throughout the tournament. She had to fight from behind earlier in the week in a playoff to qualify for the championship round, and then had to play from behind to chase and ultimately pass Papa in the final two holes. Papa led by two strokes with four holes left.
Florio fell short in last year’s tournament and ultimately placed second. She was not concerned about that this time around, though.
“It felt very good. I wasn’t really thinking about last year, I was just trying to stay in the moment. It was a totally new year, new competition, new course,” said Florio, who needed some time to get a better feel for the lay of the land in her early struggles. “I was actually hitting the ball very well, but since it was such a short course for me, I had not really adjusted to the way I had to approach the course. I hit a few hazards and stuff. But once I learned from those mistakes I improved.”
Florio now adds her name to the list of women amateur winners from the state, a group that includes names of golfers that she has always looked up to.
“It’s a very big honor. I grew up playing golf in the RI Women’s Golf Association in the junior program, I was taught by Nancy Chaffee. I feel a strong connection to Rhode Island women’s golf and it has brought me to so many places in competitive golf, for this, I’m very grateful. Especially in a year like this, this was only my second tournament this summer so I really just tried to make the most of the week. I just tried to soak it all in,” said Florio.
Florio currently competes for Columbia University, however, will not be able to compete this fall considering the Ivy League postponed fall sports.
Moving forward, Florio hopes to use the lessons she learned from this tournament to her advantage, and to serve as a reminder that it is not over until the final hole.
“It’s very beneficial. My college coach and I talk a lot about having a toolbox and being able to use those tools. Whether it be experience in certain situations or certain shots that I have learned,” said Florio. “I will definitely draw from this experience and know that I should never give up, I can always persevere and nothing is impossible, even if I am in match play. It shows that I can do a lot more.”