ORLANDO, Fla. – Daniela Lendl delivered a handful of surprises Sunday at the Golfweek Junior Invitational. Lendl popped around the corner of the 16th hole at Reunion Resort’s Legacy Course, announcing that she was there to watch a future teammate.
That teammate was Stephanie Meadow, the tournament champion. Lendl will join Meadow at Alabama in the fall of 2011 after verbally committing to the school Friday.
Lendl’s older sisters Marika (a sophomore) and Isabelle (a freshman) both play for Florida. Daniela almost became a Gator as well, but fell in love with everything about Alabama: the coach, the campus, the weather and the list goes on.
“I didn’t want to follow my sisters’ footsteps,” Daniela said. “I loved Florida but I wanted to be able to create my own identity.”
With more than a year and a half of high school left, Daniela is happy to have her college decision out of the way. That leaves her free to focus on other things, like a schedule full of tournaments the 16-year-old can name rapid fire.
Watching Meadow (which was the other surprise, as her friend didn’t know she would be dropping in for the final round), Daniela kept up a steady commentary about all things college and junior golf, including her next big goal. Daniela wants to win the Scott Robertson Memorial Junior, and make it the fourth Lendl win in the history of the tournament (Marika has one win and Isabelle has two).
“I’m so determined to win that,” Daniela said.
Each winner gets a tree planted in their name, and as Daniela said, they’re working on “Lendl Forest.”