Playoff's no sweat for PHU freshman

Published September 16, 2005

ST. PETERSBURG - At just about every level of golf, Zack Sobel has left the pack far behind.

While all eyes have been riveted on the impossible arcs of his drives and flop shots, Sobel has forged a less flamboyant but more reliable game with study and sweat.

That is precisely why the Palm Harbor University freshman was undaunted by the pressure of a sudden-death playoff against teammate Stephen Szafranski for individual honors during the Green Devil Invitational at the Vinoy Renaissance Resort & Country Club.

Showing patience by executing his methodical game, Sobel beat Szafranski for the title.

It was the second time the Hurricanes have pulled out a dramatic finish. Last year, Andrew Henning won a playoff against Tarpon Springs' Chris Lopez on the first sudden-death hole.

Sobel's playoff victory Thursday put an exclamation point on what already has been a masterful season. This spring, he won two Florida Junior Golf Association tournament titles in the 12-14 boys division and is ranked No. 1 in the state in his age group.

Sobel and Szafranski each shot 69 to lead the Hurricanes to the team title. PHU shot 294 to beat East Lake by three strokes.

Last year's winner, Countryside, carded 303 to finish third. Largo's Andrea Messer shot 74 to finish fifth among the boys.