GOLF: Odessa’s Veretto the leader in the clubhouse

Ella Veretto has seen a quick rise as a golfer since she started playing the sport at the age of 10.

She got serious about golf two years later and now currently leads the state with 13 Northern Texas PGA Junior Tour wins.

Veretto is set to enter her sophomore year at Permian, where she’ll look to make a strong impression on the Lady Panthers’ varsity golf team.

Before transferring to Permian to start her freshman year of high school, Veretto worked on her game as a middle schooler at Compass Academy.

One of her biggest golfing influences was her grandfather.

“My grandpa showed me how to play and it was really fun. It’s something that I enjoy,” Veretto said. “The first couple of years I kind of just played for fun, then I decided that I wanted to get better because I saw girls that were shooting 70s and was like, ‘I want that to be me.’”

To get those lower scores, Veretto focused on the aspects of her game that needed to be improved, specifically her chipping and putting.

Her hard work has led directly to stronger results, including a first-place, 5-over-par 77 score at the Medalist Tour: West 414 tournament on July 19 at the Nueva Vista Golf Course in Midland.

After competing in the Surf & Turf Golf Junior Open in Lubbock and the Medalist Tour: West 433 at the Odessa Country Club this week, Veretto will vie for an NTPGA Junior Tour West area championship on August 2 in Amarillo.

She’ll then compete for an NTPGA Junior Tour state championship on August 9 and 10 in Grand Prairie.

Britni Veretto, Ella’s mother, said seeing the progress her daughter has made in such a short amount of time as a golfer is exciting.

“She has been able to shave 40 strokes off of her game in pretty much the last year and a half,” Britni Veretto said. “To finally break 80 and actually be shooting in the mid 70s, we’re just beyond proud.”

Although one of Ella Veretto’s long term goals is to be a collegiate golfer, making an immediate impact as a Lady Panther is something she is looking to accomplish.

She already competed in a few tournaments last year as a part of head coach Rodney Roman’s Permian II team.

Roman also extended an invite for Ella Veretto to join his top squad when they competed at the Region 1-6A Tournament in April in Grand Prairie.

The Permian head coach said he had a one-on-one meeting with the golfer at the end of the school year and he challenged her to carve out a spot within the program’s top five golfers.

“In essence I told her, ‘It’s time to really start playing big girl golf because I expect you to jump up and make that top five,’” Roman said. “She has the potential to do so and she’s showing it throughout the summer that she has that capability.”

When Veretto joined the Permian program as a freshman, Roman saw a strong golfer that a lot of coaches would like to have on their teams.

Along with her short game, Roman has seen the incoming sophomore improve on her golf IQ over the summer.

“The more you increase your IQ in golf, the better golfer you’re going to be,” Roman said.

Britni Veretto said her daughter learned a lot from competing with the golf programs at Compass Academy and Permian, with the competition from some of the area’s biggest schools offering another learning experience for the golfer.

Ella Veretto knows she’ll have to work 10 times harder for the Lady Panthers once the season tees off this fall.

“I’m really excited and ready for it,” she said. “I’m ready for the challenge.”

>>Follow Chris Amaya on Twitter at @OA_CAmaya