East Lake has comfortable grip on first

Published February 18, 2006

Innisbrook won Monday's Pinellas Interclub match at Countryside to move up in the 12-club standing from fifth to third. The Palm Harbor team was followed by a tie for second between the Vinoy and Belleair Country Club.

The match was played on Countryside's nine-hole Pine and Lake courses.

Though East Lake Woodlands finished 10th, it remains in first after six matches with 48 points, still far ahead of The Bayou with 37.5 and Innisbrook with 35.

East Lake was led by the formidable better-ball team of John Ruggiero and T. Oliver, who combined for a 64, tying with Bob Fleet and Joe Tobias of Seminole Lake and Cypress Run's Mike Quinn and Jack Hurley. Ruggiero's team won via a scorecard playoff.

Countryside's Chris Slattery won his third consecutive Interclub pro match. He and the Belleview Biltmore's Bill Shriver shot 1-over 73. Randy Mosley of the Vinoy posted 74 and Jim Slattery, Chris's brother, 75.

"I was 1-under par on the 17th tee but bogeyed it and 18 playing dead into the wind," said Slattery, who had two birdies.

Chris, 31, a Largo High grad, will return to the Jacksonville area next month where he'll become the head pro at Deercreek Country Club. ClubCorp manages Countryside and Deercreek.

Slattery played on the golf team at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville.

INTERCLUB NOTE: Seminole Lake's drive to get out of the cellar of the team standings took a blow on Monday.

One of its 10 members took ill and dropped out. According to Interclub official Bob Detlor, who plays for Seminole Lake, if a player drops out the team must take the highest score of the tournament and add one. Since the highest score that day was 81, Seminole Lake had to add 82 to its fine scores of 69-69-67 and 64. The club tied for seventh and remains in last after six matches.

WEST COAST WOMEN: Jackie Mitchell of Countryside Country Club won Flight A of last week's match at Buckhorn Springs in Valrico.

Though Mitchell plays to a 9 handicap, a lofty score of 88 held up on a cold, blustery morning on the par 72 layout. Mitchell attributed high scores that day to the fact that most players had an extra layer of clothes that restricted them somewhat.

"We were all bundled up at the start," said Mitchell, who followed that round with 4-over 76 at her home course Tuesday. "That round, which included three birdies, was encouraging."

Mitchell is looking ahead to April's club championship at Countryside where she hopes to win the women's title for the fourth consecutive year. Last year she won the 36-hole match by 21 strokes.

"I played sports in my native England (Essex) but not golf," Mitchell said. "I played a lot of net ball, similar to basketball, and tennis. I'm somewhat competitive so I guess there's carryover benefit there."

West Coast Women's president Vickie Stafford finished in a four-way tie for second in Flight A at Valrico with 89.

Pat Rogers of Tampa Palms won Flight AA shooting 81.

Nancy Strite of Feather Sound finished second (91) in Flight D two strokes behind Donna Menage of Bradenton.

The WCWGA returns to Pinellas on Monday for a match at Pasadena.

PRO NEWS: Greg Kraft has been added to Titleist's playing staff for 2006. He made the cut at last weekend's AT&T Peeble Beach National Pro-Am.

Countryside High graduate Kevin Durkin is aiming for a top-20 finish on the Nationwide Tour. At the recent Panama Championship, he finished tied for 16th.

Brett Weeks (Clearwater Central Catholic) of Trinity is playing on the NGA/Hooters Tour again. He finished 3-under 213 (73-70-70) in a recent tournament in Orlando.

Did you know that Clearwater's John Huston represents one of five consecutive international winners of the Chrysler Championship?

He won at Innisbrook in 2001, followed by K.J. Choi, South Korea; Retief Goosen, South Africa; Vijay Singh, Fiji; and Carl Pettersson, Sweden, in 2005.

FLORIDA CUP: North Florida became the first team in the history of the Florida State Golf Association to successfully defend its title.

Last week the 16-man amateur squad defeated the South 17-15 at Timuquana Country Club in Jacksonville.

The South had a slim lead after the first day's matches, 8.5-7.5. But in Friday's singles matches, the North prevailed behind the wins of David Anthony and Andy Purnell, both of Jacksonville, plus Bret Voisin of Orlando and Peter Dachisen of Wesley Chapel, a staff member of the FSGA in Tampa.

Anthony and Purnell won all their three matches, as did the South's Rick Bauch of Naples and Brent Bush from Palm Beach Gardens.

CGA: The Clearwater-based league returns to Pinellas next week with morning and afternoon matches at East Lake Woodlands on Monday and at Seminole Lake on Thursday. To sign up, go to www.countygolf.com

COLLEGE: Dunedin's Lara Smilnak (CCC), at Boston College, returns to the Sunshine State on March 20 to play in Marshall University's Herd Invitational in Citrus Springs. Smilnak finished in the 1-3 positions for the Eagles last fall.

JUNIOR CLINIC: The free junior clinic that was scheduled for Clearwater Executive has been reset for March 25 at 2 p.m.

It's being organized by the LPGA Girls Club of Largo, open to both girls and boys. Jenny Gleason, a member of the LPGA from Clearwater, will conduct the clinic. For information, call club director Pam Scott at (727) 488-6651.

INTERCLUB STANDINGS: East Lake Woodlands, 48; Bayou Club, 371/2; Innisbrook, 35; Cove Cay, 331/2; Lansbrook, 29; Cypress Run, 29; Vinoy, 28; Belleview Biltmore 271/2; Countryside, 20; Belleair, 20; Dunedin, 18.5; Seminole Lake, 4.