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Countryside secures county championship

Published May 25, 2004

The Pinellas Interclub Association's series is suppose to extend from September-June to determine a championship team.

However, Countryside finished second in the May match at Cypress Run to garner nine points and increase its first-place lead by 16, thus locking up the coveted title.

Even a maximum 10-point win by co-runners-up Cove Cay or the Bayou Club in the finale couldn't change the outcome.

Countryside's Glenn Ruediger played a key role in the team's fifth victory in the 12-club series. He selects the squad's players and exhorts them onto greater heights.

Four members, playing in twosomes, had major roles in the win at Cypress Run.

Randy Wehling and Mark Wilkins combined for a better-ball score of 10-under 62. That tied for first with Will Gable and Paul Trinkwon of the host club. Brothers Jeff and Pat Herndon of Countryside were just a stroke back.

Wehling said he relies a lot on the advice of Wilkins, a three-handicap player, for club selection and course management.

"Mark coaches me around the course, and that helps me," Wehling said. "Also, our team captain, Glenn Ruediger, helps organize and prepare the players for the matches."

Two trophies have yet to be won.

The Jim Ainsworth Trophy is for the runner-up position. After nine matches, the Bayou Club and Cove Cay are tied for second with 52 points, three ahead of Dunedin.

The Bud Donahue Trophy goes to the club that has the best score in the final two matches. Innisbrook, this month's winner, is in the driver's seat entering the last match, at Seminole Lake on June 10.

Cypress Run's Gable, the new league president, will present the awards during the annual banquet.

Dunedin's Roy Pesavento is the new vice president, and Ruediger has been added to the board of directors. He will meet with secretary/treasurer Bob Detlor and pro members Randy Mosley of the Vinoy and Jim Slattery of Belleair Country Club.

MORE LEAGUE NEWS: Slattery, the most consistent pro winner in the monthly matches, tied for first with Bayou Club director of golf Jim King. They shot 2-over 74.

Innisbrook's Ray Slattery, Jim's nephew, had a 75 and was followed by Seminole Lake's Buck Thornbury (77).

King birdied his 17th hole to receive the tie. "I played steady all day," King said.

SENIOR SENSATION: Bob Toth, 78, an 8-handicap player at Crescent Oaks, is on a roll toward shooting his age or better 100 times.

Last week, playing from the gold tees at 6,269 yards at his club, he had three birdies en route to a 74 to accomplish the feat for the 97th time.

Steve Purviance, the head pro at Crescent Oaks, isn't surprised about Toth's accomplishment.

"He's a classic golfer with a compact swing, and he knows how to score," Purviance said.

Toth said the younger guys can always out-drive him but his game is keeping his drives in play and consistently hitting the greens in regulation.

Toth first shot his age when he was 66.

He started playing as a caddie in his hometown of Elyria, Ohio. One of his proudest accomplishments is a sixth-place finish in the Ohio Amateur Championship.

U.S. OPEN PROGRESS: Kyle McCarthy of South Pasadena and Mike Barbosa of St. Petersburg have passed the first critical test toward advancing to next month's championship in Southampton, N.Y.

McCarthy was among four to qualify for a sectional when he fired a 3-under 69 at Grasslands in Lakeland on May 17. He will go to Lake Nona in Orlando on June 8.

Barbosa, a Georgia Tech sophomore, advances from Innisbrook after crafting a 3-under 68 on the Copperhead course at Innisbrook. He recently was named Tech's most improved player for the 2003-04 season and team co-captain, plus made the dean's list again.

Last weekend in New Haven, Conn., Barbosa helped Tech reach the NCAA Championships by placing third on the squad in the East Region Championships. He posted a 73-75-71-219.

The day after the NCAA tourney, June 1-4 in Hot Springs, Va., Barbosa travels to Columbus, Ohio, for the 36-hole U.S. Open second-stage sectional.

PGA TOUR MONDAY QUALIFIER: For the second time this year, Countryside High graduate Kevin Durkin not only produced a top-three Monday finish to compete with the exempt pros, but he made the cut.

In the Byron Nelson Championship two weeks ago, Durkin carded a 4-under 66 in his opening round for fifth place but faded to a tie for 72nd with 70-73-74. He received $11,252.

"Kevin was very gifted in high school, but he only wanted to play for fun," Cougars coach Greg Bryant said. "I guess the light came on for him later when he decided to pursue the game as a career. He'll keep chipping away at it, trying to close that fine line," Bryant said.

PGA WEST CENTRAL CHAPTER: In a Pro-Am at Feather Sound, Jim Slattery took top honors in the pro division with a 2-over 74 that edged Jim Holt of Hidden Creek by a stroke.

Slattery, who played for Florida State, also was on a winning team with amateur partners Wally McCoy, Andy Lynn and Rick Hirsh. They had a 135.

Three Pinellas pros tied for fifth behind Slattery. They were Andy Crowe, Feather Sound; Bill Buttner, Airco; and Mike Murphy, Wentworth.

COLLEGE BOUND: Lara Smilnak (Clearwater Central Catholic), a three-time member of the Times all-county first team, has signed a national letter of intent with Boston College.

She maintained a 3.90 GPA at CCC, graduating in the upper 10 percent of her class. JUNIORS: Zack Sobel of Tarpon Springs won his third Tournament of Champions age-group title earlier this month, the premier annual event of the Greater Tampa Junior Association.

A seventh-grader at Berkeley Prep, Sobel shot 1-over 145 (72-73) on the 6,100-yard layout at Sun City Center for ages 12-13.

Smilnak had a steady 77-76-153 for third in the girls 16-18 group to place just behind Tyrette Metzendorf (149) of Winter Haven and Wesley Chapel's Han Young (153).

In the 13-15 flight, Evan Jensen of Belleair (74-79-153) finished second, a stroke ahead of Clearwater's Courtney Harter and five behind winner Dolores White of Lakeland.

St. Petersburg's M.J. Maguire (65) won the boys 9-11 on a match of cards with Taylor Hancock of Clearwater.

Jasmine Wade of Oldsmar won the girls 9-10 flight with a 68, and Josh Hancock of Clearwater took second, boys 6-8, with a 72 from advanced tees.

COMING UP: The Pinellas County Junior Golf Association has a match set for June 7 at Wentworth. For registration information, call Greg Hiland, 447-5272.

The Innisbrook Amateur will be on the Copperhead and Island courses July 3-5.

The entry fee is $275. Victor Findlay of Fort Lauderdale is the defending champion. For information, call (727) 942-3737.

[Last modified May 24, 2004, 22:36:12]

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