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Tampa golfers fare well in Open

Published July 7, 2006

LAND O'LAKES - At arguably the biggest tournament of the season, six county golfers were among the 159 from across the country who turned out for the American Amateur Golf Tour's Florida Open, held Saturday and Sunday at Grand Cypress Golf Club in Kissimmee. Nine AAGT chapter's were represented, including Tampa, with participants coming from as far away as Missouri and New York.

Dade City's Joel Knickerbocker had the county's best numerical finish, shooting a two-round 10-over 154 to finish 11th in the 18-player Nicklaus flight. The flight, with a tour handicapping index of 3.9 or less, is the most difficult on the tour. Knickerbocker's rounds of 74-80 left him 11 shots behind Ormand Beach's Kieth Storms, who claimed victory with a 71-72-143.

In the Palmer flight, Land O'Lakes' Eric Newsome used a second-round 79 to finish in a four-way tie for 18th in the 33-player field. Newsome's 17-over 161 in the next-hardest flight, with a tour index of 4.0-7.9, eight strokes behind first-place Don Rutledge of Orlando.

Wesley Chapel's Alan Da Cunha was the lone county golfer to finish in the top half of his field, shooting a 29-over 173 89-84 to earn a 15th-place finish in the 31-player Hogan flight. Da Cunha's impressive second round, better than eight of the 14 golfers who finished ahead of him, prevented the East Pasco resident from slipping into a three-way tie for 16th-place. Still, Da Cunha finished 21-strokes behind Clearwater's Bill Coy, who earned the victory. Lutz resident Lou Savinetti also competed in the flight, the tour's third most-difficult (8.0-11.9). The Plantation Palms golfer shot a 32-over 176 (83-93) and finished 20th.

In the Sarazen flight, next on the difficulty scale (12.0-15.9), 35 golfers participated, making the flight the largest in the tournament. New Port Richey resident and St. Leo University golfer Samantha Chu was the county's lone participant, shooting 46-over 190 to finish in 35th-place. Her rounds of 97 and 93, respectively, left her 33 strokes behind Sarasota's Fred Bing, who won with a 79-78-157.

Wesley Chapel's Michael Henry competed in the Jones flight, shooting 39-over 183 to finish in a three-way tie for 17th. Henry's 89-94 left him 20 strokes behind St. Pete's Dan Hartley, who earned the victory in the 29-player flight with a 19-over 163 (81-82). The Jones flight has a flight index of 16.0-19.9.

American Junior Golf Association: In the eighth annual First American Title Junior Classic, held June 26-29 at the TPC of Tampa Bay in Lutz, Dade City's Cameron Knight finished in ninth-place. The former Wesley Chapel standout and incoming Florida State freshman shot 8-over 221 (75-76-70) to earn the top-10 finish in the 60-player field. The 2004 Class 2A state champion finished nine shots behind Defiance, Missouri's Adam Long, who earned the title with a one-under 212.

Do you know of a local golfer succeeding in the professional, collegiate, or amateur ranks? Is something going on at your golf course? If so, contact Times Correspondent Mike Tompkins at (813) 431-4812 or email at

[Last modified July 6, 2006, 23:48:46]

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