This season, all three Keys schools became very friendly with one another, playing at each of the schools’ home courses numerous times. Unlike seasons past, multiple athletes took turns in the top spot during regular season play. Most notably, Monroe County golfers are known for working together to help one another, rather than seeing each other as rivals. Though no golfers advanced past the district tournaments this season, multiple players fared well at districts and have shown steady improvement from last year, giving the teams a lot to look forward to in 2024.

Photos by Barry Gaukel, Doug Finger, Alex Behler and Tracy McDonald.


Peyton Zubieta
Junior, Key West

Junior Peyton Zubieta’s powerful drive helped his scoring this season. This year, he honed in on the finer points of his game, which proved fruitful as he became more consistent in all aspects. His work this season, coupled with the skills he has already acquired, should give him all he needs to go far in his senior season. His district tournament score of 84 tied for first in Keys match play with teammate Andrew Bassett.

Andrew Bassett
Junior, Key West

Conchs junior Andrew Bassett’s consistency was key to his success this season. Bassett’s dedication to the sport was apparent all season long as his scores trended downward, culminating with a solid 84 at districts and setting him up for a stellar senior campaign in 2024.

Preston Carrol during Coral Shores High School 2023 Golf Media Day at Founder’s Park Tuesday, September 5, 2023. Photo by Doug Finger

Preston Carroll
Junior, Coral Shores

Junior Preston Carroll has been an integral part of Coral Shores’ golf team for multiple seasons. Carroll averaged in the low- to mid-40s on the nine-hole courses he played this season. His dedication to the sport and willingness to help the less experienced members of his team were crucial to the success the Hurricanes enjoyed this year.

Tanny Irons during Coral Shores High School 2023 Golf Media Day at Founder’s Park Tuesday, September 5, 2023. Photo by Doug Finger

Tanel Irons
Junior, Coral Shores

Junior Tanel Irons was neck-and-neck with teammate Preston Carroll this season, trading first-place finishes in many matches. Irons is a multi-year player for the ’Canes and has improved markedly with each season. He was an asset to the younger athletes on his team, helping to show them the ropes and improve the scores of everyone on the squad.

Brock Bynum during Coral Shores High School 2023 Golf Media Day at Founder’s Park Tuesday, September 5, 2023. Photo by Doug Finger

Brock Bynum
Sophomore, Coral Shores

Sophomore Brock Bynum brought a new insight to the Coral Shores golf program this season. Though new to the sport, Bynum brought an energetic love for the game, and his excitement was contagious. His positive attitude, combined with solid shooting, helped the ’Canes excel all season long.

Ryan Kight
Senior, Key West

Senior Ryan Kight is a long ball hitter whose leadership served the Conchs well. Kight’s ability to stay level-headed during play, and his short memory after a tough shot, made him an asset for Key West. The three-year veteran has shown growth and success in every aspect of the game.

Michael Merryman
Senior, Marathon

Senior Michael Merryman’s average score this season was 49, making him one of the Keys’ top golfers all season long. In only his second season of golf, Merryman often took the top spot for Marathon. In his final match of the season, he scored a 39, and at the district tournament, shot a 96 in the first 18-hole match of his career.

Mason Thornton
Junior, Marathon

Fins junior Mason Thornton is a newcomer to the sport but made an immediate impact on the Dolphins’ squad. In just his first season playing golf, Mason averaged a score of 51 and scored under 50 in five matches. Thornton started strong and continued to improve as the season progressed, setting him up for an exciting senior year on the links.

Dylan Ziels
Senior, Marathon

Senior Dylan Ziels set aside his baseball bat for a driver and gave the sport of golf a go this season. In his first year of golf, Ziels averaged a score of 52 and in three matches had scores under 50. The level-headed athlete kept his cool and was consistent this season, scoring under 60 in all regular season matches.


Claudia Steling
Sophomore, Key West

Sophomore Claudia Steling is a powerful ball striker who won numerous regular season matches this year. Steling works tirelessly to improve her game, putting in long hours of practice and attending camps in the offseason. She is a delightfully positive athlete who can be found cheering up teammates and competitors alike over the course of a match. Her can-do attitude was as crucial to the Conchs’ success as her fantastic scores.

Gabby Thomas during Coral Shores High School 2023 Golf Media Day at Founder’s Park Tuesday, September 5, 2023. Photo by Doug Finger

Gabby Thomas
Junior, Coral Shores

Junior Gabby Thomas brings so much more to the game of golf than just her scores. Thomas often traded first-place finishes with other Keys golfers this season, and when she was not winning matches, she was helping others to improve, regardless of whose uniform they wore. Thomas’ positive attitude and her dedication to self-improvement on the course make her a tough competitor, but her camaraderie and willingness to share her knowledge make her a friend to all those fortunate enough to share a round with her.

Maeve O’Hearn
Senior, Key West
Senior Maeve O’Hearn was another first-time golfer who discovered a hidden talent this season. O’Hearn’s improvement was consistent all season long, and her determination and unwillingness to give up was contagious. By the end of the season, O’Hearn was in the top of the scoring for Keys athletes.

Summer Haines
Senior, Marathon

Senior Summer Haines put a lot of work into her game in the off season, and it paid off during her final year with the Fins. Haines averaged a score of 51 for the season with her best score, a 44, coming in her final home match. Her consistency was notable and her improvement in her short game made Marathon’s two-time best female golfer tough to beat in 2023.

Tracy McDonald fled to the Keys from the frozen mountains of Pennsylvania hours after graduating from college and never looked back. She is a second generation coach and educator, and has taught in the public school system for over 25 years. She and her husband met at a beginning teacher meeting in 1997 and have three children born and raised in Monroe County. In her free time, McDonald loves flea markets, historical fiction and long runs in the heat.