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Eagles, Cougars see well enough to win

LAURA LEE
Published October 15, 2003

ST. PETERSBURG - As if battling Tuesday's weather were not enough, East Lake and Countryside had to play a playoff for St. Petersburg Invitational title. In the dark.

After sunset, about 7:25 p.m., both teams took their top two performers of the day and blindly played the first hole at the Vinoy. Both pairs - East Lake's Joe Paolini and Brian Oliver and Countryside's David Rupert and P.J. Kolosovary - shot 9 to extend the playoff.

Instead of having them play another hole in the dark, the Eagles and Cougars were named co-champions at 319. Seminole finished two shots back. "It was dark. We barely saw our tee shots," Kolosovary said.

Countryside coach Greg Bryant tried to spot the players on the course as best he could, but there was only so much he could do.

"We were on the putting green, and it was pitch black," Kolosovary said.

"We couldn't see the hole."

Palm Harbor U. senior Jason Elliott was the only player to shoot under par for nine holes, and his 74 earned him medalist honors. Rupert and Largo's Adam Messer tied for second at 76.

"I didn't hit the ball the greatest, but I putted good," Elliott said.

Elliott came up big on the front nine at 1-under but ran into trouble on the back. He found water on both par 5s and double bogeyed No. 16. Elliott said had there been no bad weather, the course would have played a little easier.

There were two 10-minute downpours with strong winds and rain falling sideways, making play tricky. The course recently re-opened after renovations. And the greens, which were redone, were hard, adding another element for players to contend with.

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