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Citrus' Taylor medalist in A-6

By Times staff writers
© St. Petersburg Times
published October 30, 2002

WEEKI WACHEE -- Sure, Saddlebrook Prep won a fourth consecutive district team title Tuesday, but it still felt like a banner day for public schools everywhere.

Citrus junior Robert Taylor shot 3-under 69 to earn individual medalist honors and all four individual qualifiers came from public schools at The Dunes in the Class A, District 6 tournament.

Saddlebrook, led by Gin Woon Kim's 71 and former district champ Martin Ureta's 72, shot 292 to outdistance Citrus (305) and Hernando and St. John Lutheran (312).

"I thought it was a solid performance," Saddlebrook coach Neil Postlethwait said. "We're happy with it. Martin wasn't happy he didn't play up to his ability, but we've worked hard to get here."

The top four schools plus individual qualifiers Cameron Knight (who shot 73 for Wesley Chapel), Jonathan Mine (77, Zephyrhills), Stephen Seal (78, Wesley Chapel) and Morgan Rickerson (78, South Sumter) advance to the Region III tournament Nov. 4 at Champion's Club in Jacksonville.

"Besides Robert, that (75) by Ian Morrill and (77) by Garrett (Neal) helped us tremendously," Citrus coach Chris Richardson said. "Those guys had some real great rounds going."

Taylor, who shot his first sub-par 18-hole score this season, drove well and thrived on the spacious fairways. He had four birdies and an eagle and stumbled only on the 14th hole with a double bogey. Playing in a group with Kim helped elevate his game, Taylor said.

"I stayed with him, and stayed ahead of him," Taylor said. "It's great to do so well against them. We sat there and watched them hit range balls and we're thinking, 'They're awesome.' "

-- BRANT JAMES

2A-7: Mitchell wins

OLDSMAR -- Brittany Jones shoved Brittany Lincicome at the 11th tee. With all of the laughter, it would have been hard to take the gesture as anything but playful.

Although Lincicome beat Jones last year for the district title, there were no hard feelings between the two juniors who have been playing against each other since they were 9.

Like last year, Jones, East Lake's top golfer, was shooting for a realistic second place Tuesday in the 2A-7 tournament against Lincicome, who is the nation's fifth-ranked junior according to Golfweek.

Playing as an individual for Seminole, Lincicome shot 67 at East Lake Woodlands to win, and Jones was next at 81.

Mitchell won the district championship at 378; its top four shot under 100. River Ridge finished second; Palm Harbor University and East Lake rounded out the teams advancing to regionals, Nov. 4 at Heritage Oaks in Sarasota. "We had fun," Lincicome said. "We were just messing around. We were all playing good."

They brought the other members of the foursome, Mitchell's Amanda Moore and River Ridge's Heather Hagerman, in on the game, chopping it up for almost the entire 18 holes.

There were a few breaks in the casualness of the match when the smiles disappeared and the conversation hushed, especially on the more difficult back nine.

Moore hit into the bunker on the 11th and took two shots to get out, earning a bogey. She said during her practice round the day before, the sand had been much softer.

"Today, my club hit the ground and bounced back up," Moore said.

The four meet again at regionals, where Hagerman said she hopes they will be paired together.

-- LAURA LEE

2A-3: Lecanto, Central advance to regional

OCALA -- Two area teams took another baby step along the pressure-packed path of postseason girls golf.

Lecanto and Central can count themselves among the survivors after the 2A-3 tournament. Both finished among the top four and qualified for regional play.

Lecanto, led by Anne Kizer's 89, had a four-person total of 369, 45 shots behind defending district champion Buchholz. The second-place Panthers were followed by Central (398) and Belleview (399).

Those teams, plus the top four individuals, move on to the 2A, Region 2 tournament Nov. 5 at Meadowbrook Golf Club in Gainesville.

"We can potentially play better than we have been playing," Lecanto coach Doug Warren said. "I don't even know if we made our averages today. I think we were a little above."

Lecanto, which earned its third regional appearance in four seasons, pieced together four solid scores at the par-72 Ocala Golf Club. Kizer's sub-90 round was sixth best overall. All of her teammates hovered in the mid- to low-90s. Erin Fields shot 91, Stephanie Copple 92 and Lisa Lamontagne 97.

"I just kept staying calm," Kizer said. "I almost fell apart on the front nine. I knew all I had to do was play my game and I would do well. Things clicked on the back nine."

Though Lecanto expected to make the regional cut, Central did not.

Mary Ross led the way for the Bears at 93. Katie McCabe shot 95, Kelly Wilkins 104 and Samantha Downing 106 on a warm afternoon.

"What's really neat about is that they all really love it," Central coach Lori Lessley said. "We're so excited we're really not sure how to act."

Buchholz (13-1), a model of postseason consistency, put all four individuals at the top of the leaderboard, including freshman medalist Sarah Hurt, who shot 76 on the 5,100-yard municipal layout. No other golfer came within a shot of breaking 80.

-- MIKE HODGE

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