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New hardware makes an impact

Published July 2, 2006

The club champion at Wentworth took his game to a higher level last week, coming on strong in the final two rounds at the State Amateur Championship.

Patrick Olive, 34, finished tied for 14th among a field of 176 from across the state. He shot par 71 the final two days on the 7,100-yard Pine Tree course after opening with rounds of 73-76 in Boynton Beach.

Olive attributed his improvement to the fact that after driving erratically the first two days, he invested in a new driver for the final two rounds which made a big difference in his game.

"I was having some major driving issues the first two days and realized fixing my driver wasn't going to change the situation so I just bought a new one," said Olive, a former Tarpon Springs High and St. Petersburg Junior College player. "I couldn't afford to get into the high rough we all had to deal with; the new driver made a big difference. I was solid from tee to green on the weekend."

On Sunday, Olive birdied both par 5s on the front side, including the 610-yard fifth. His second shot came up 50 yards short from where he chipped up, close enough to get down with one putt.

Olive will try to capitalize on his momentum by qualifying for the State Four-Ball Championship this week in a match at Palma Ceia. He's paired with his boss, Gary Richardson of Palm Harbor, who plays to a 2 handicap. Olive is not certain if he's a plus 1 or 2 this week. The Championship will be played at Innisbrook on July 8-9.

Olive's biggest career test comes this month at Cypress Run where he'll make his first attempt to qualify for the U.S. Amateur Championship, set for Aug. 21-27 at Hazeltine National in Chaska, Minn.

MORE STATE AM: Jeremy Evans of Palm Harbor had a sub-par round of 70 in sight on the final day until he hit the 18th hole. He triple bogeyed the par-4 hole for 73, offsetting four birdies in the stellar round.

Evans finished at 291, followed by P.J. Kolosvary, Safety Harbor, 300; Ken Palladino, Dunedin, 304; and Tyler Wilkins, Clearwater, 305.

Jeff Dennis, 19, of Parkland, won the 89th Championship with 5-under 280. He plays for the University of North Florida.

CGA: Palladino teed it up for the fifth straight day Monday and came out a winner at the league's match at Pasadena; 3-over 75 took first place. The top net scores were posted by Decker Todd, 68, and Jim Bakos, 69. In the Senior Division, Jim Bailey prevailed with 78 while net honors were taken by Thom Canavan, 64, and Joe Chuck, 65.

WEST COAST WOMEN: At Belleair last week, Jackie Currier of Walden Lake edged Pat Rogers of Tampa Palms in Flight AA by a stroke, 76 to 77. Net honors in the top flight went to Clearwater Country Club's Kelly Patterson (67) over Kim Hollister (700) of Innisbrook.

Suki Hlasnick took Flight A with an 81 and Jo Sheraw won B with 84. In Flight C, Cypress Run's Paulette Sullivan tied for first (91) with Katharina Kim. Diane Poad of Countryside shot 92 to finished tied for second in Flight D behind Linda Armstrong's 88.

JUNIORS: Oldsmar's Whitney Wenglasz traveled to Lubbock, Texas, last week to play in the prestigious Randy Smith Classic, a regional major on the AJGA circuit. Among a field of 30, Wenglasz emerged the winner shooting 2-over 218 (72-74-72) on the Texas Tech course. Wenglasz plays for Northside Christian, winners of the 2004 State Class A title.

* Zach Sobel of Clearwater Beach and Tyler Wilkins of Clearwater will be among a strong Pinellas contingent at the State Boys Championship, which gets under way on July 10 in Jacksonville.

Sobel, the 2005 Times Pinellas high school player of the year, is coming off a second-place finish in a big junior tournament in Gainesville where he shot 72-70--142.

* Dakoda Dowd's success on Tuesday qualifying for the U.S. Girls Junior Championship puts the 13-year-old phenom on a stage where more than a few LPGA stars earned their spurs. However, the age limit is 17 and 11 months plus.

In Morgan Pressel's sixth consecutive appearance in the tournament last July in Idaho, the LPGA rookie lost in her third-round match. She did better at the U.S. Women's Open last year tying for second.

The Championship will be played July 17-22 at Carmel Country Club in Charlotte, N.C. The starting field of 156 players will be reduced after two rounds to the low 64 for match play.

[Last modified July 1, 2006, 11:57:58]

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