tampabay.com

Clearwater's Gleason works on being ready for LPGA call

By DAVE THEALL
Published February 16, 2005


Waiting for an important phone call can play on one's nerves.

But that is the price Clearwater's Jenny Gleason must pay for securing a spot on the LPGA's non-exempt list in December's Final Qualifying Tournament in Daytona Beach.

To round out its full field for each tourney, the women's pro tour draws from priority lists. Gleason, 24, who missed the top 25 in the grueling five-round event at LPGA International, expects to get invited to eight-10 tournaments this year based on her 15th-place non-exempt position.

"I really don't expect to be called until May," said Gleason, who finished in a 10-way tie at 10-over 365 at Q-School last season.

"That's when the tour moves on to New England," she said. "In the meantime, I plan to be ready to step up by playing competitive golf on the Futures Tour again, starting next month in Lakeland, followed by tournaments at East Lake Woodlands and McAllen, Texas."

Gleason said that it's more important to keep her game sharp by competing than it is to worry about when the phone rings with the LPGA on the other end.

"And when the call comes and I do get to tee off with the top women in the world, I just plan to go out there and play the way I know how to play," she said.

"My goal is to always play a solid game whether it's a local match or the LPGA Championship. I don't concern myself with who's in the field."

Gleason had her best round of the 2004 season on the Futures Tour at her home course, East Lake Woodlands, in the Next Generation Classic. She closed with a 5-under 67 for a 54-hole total of 2-under 216, tying for sixth.

In the offseason, she has continued to work on her swing by e-mail and videos with instructor Kelley Phillips of Greensboro, N.C.

To gain strength and ultimately length off the tee, Gleason has trained with fitness instructor Lynn Colombo at the Westin Innisbrook Resort, and the golfer has added 10 pounds to her trim frame since November.

"Everyone hits the ball good off the tee," Gleason said. "It all comes down to the short game - who makes the putts.

"If I can do that on the LPGA Tour when I get my chance, hopefully, I can make the top 90 on the money list and earn exempt status for 2006."

OTHER WOMEN'S STANDOUTS: Seminole's Brittany Lincicome makes her 2005 debut on the LPGA Tour in this weekend's inaugural SBS Open at Turtle Bay in Hawaii. The prize purse is $1,000,000.

Michelle Vinieratos , who played at Pinellas Park High and for the Florida Gators, has LPGA non-exempt status this year via a medical extension.

Marilyn Lovander of St.Petersburg just missed the top-90 cut on the LPGA last year, finishing 94th on the money list with $88,799. She has non-exempt status this season.

Jennifer Cully , 35, of Tierra Verde, is among the top 50 teaching pros in the March issue of Golf For Women . She's a Class A pro at Apollo Beach.

COUNTY: Jeff Neugebarger 's 77 took top honors in Thursday's CGA match at Fox Hollow. Kevin Andress shot 79 and was followed by Tim Deleon 's 80.

CLUB NEWS: At Cove Cay on Sunday, the winners of the annual Husband-Wife Tournament were Pam and Howard Holmes . They shot 82 in a modified Chatman scramble. Net honors went to Norm and Marge Legge , who posted 58.

JUNIORS: Clearwater's Stephen Szafranski tied (76-80-156) for third in the boys 15-18 division of the Florida Junior Golf Association's recent Superbowl Tournament at Lake Diamond in Ocala.

Dunedin's Preston Knox finished two strokes back. His sister, Justine, placed fifth in the girls competition, followed by Dunedin's Dana Turker .

Zach Sobel of Tarpon Springs posted 81-79 for second among boys 12-14.

DID YOU KNOW?: PGA Tour veteran Hal Sutton won the Gasparilla Invitational at Palma Ciea in 1981 . Ed Tutwiler of Boca Raton won in 1974 and Bob Murphy of Nichols in 1967.

The 50th annual amateur classic is scheduled for March 4-6 in Tampa.