Conservative attitude yields Amateur berth

Published July 29, 2006

Danny Allen of Palm Harbor used basically the same approach to win the U.S. Amateur qualifier at Cypress Run on Wednesday that Tiger Woods used to win the British Open on Sunday.

Allen, a senior at Eckerd College by way of Tarpon Springs High, had an opening round of par 72 in the qualifier, which put him in third place behind the 71 of Patrick Olive of Tarpon and Mike York of Naples.

Whereas Woods was trying to protect a one-stroke lead heading into the final round, Allen was trying to maintain his place to qualify for the 106th National Amateur Championship, Aug. 21-27 in Chaska, Minn.

Wednesday, Allen used his driver sparingly, realizing a conservative approach off the tees would help protect him from wayward drives and high numbers.

His approach worked as he consistently hit fairways and greens over the last 14 holes, shooting even after bogeying Nos. 1 and 4. His final score of 74 left him one ahead of Olive and Justin Schlau of Trinty, who also advanced to the tournament Woods won from 1994-96.

"I only used my driver twice, on two par 5s," Allen said. "Those fairways at Cypress Run are kind of tight, and I didn't want to get into trouble off the tee and get a big number on any hole. I thought that if I shot low I'd finally make it to the No. 1 tournament in the country for me, the U.S. Amateur Championship."

Allen's success on the 515-yard sixth hole, which he birdied, helped him earn medalist honors.

Although his drive missed the fairway, he punched through some tall trees to within 100 yards of the green then hit an approach shot to 4 feet, where he made the birdie putt.

Allen said staying calm throughout the final round was a test.

"My emotions get high sometimes, which isn't always good, such as bogeying my first hole on Wednesday," Allen said. "I had to remind myself to forget, don't get mad and don't blow up. I still had 17 holes to play."

Olive, the club champion at Wentworth, slipped to 76 in the second round but made the cut having opened strong with a 1-under 71. Schlau emerged as the final qualifier with a tournament-tying best score of 71 on Wednesday, matching Olive at 147.

QUALIFIER NOTES: Matt Galloway of Valrico and Chris Mullhaupt of Bradenton, a stroke back at 148, are the first and second alternates.

Jason Elliott of Palm Harbor, who plays for USF, also shot 148 (76-72). One stroke better would have put him in a playoff with Olive and Schlau for the third spot to advance to the championship.

Other Pinellas low scores included Dunedin's Ken Palladino, 150 (76-74); P.J. Kolosvary, Safety Harbor, 151 (75-76); Sam Lewis, St. Petersburg, 151 (77-74); Justin Meier, Oldsmar, 151 (76-75); Dan Humboldt, Clearwater, 153 (78-75); Adam Messer, Largo, 153 (78-75); Winston Ball, St. Pete Beach, 154 (76-78); Jeremy Evans, Palm Harbor, 155 (79-76); Jim Fitzpatrick, Clearwater, 155 (77-78); and Mark Wilkins, Clearwater, 156 (81-75).

Messer, 20, had the shot of the day during Monday's round. On the par-4 fourth hole, the course's No. 1-handicapped, he crafted an educated fade on the dogleg right to within 124 yards. His approach shot hit past the pin but spun back into the cup for an eagle 2.

* St. Petersburg's Michael Barbosa tried to qualify at Orange County National in Winter Garden on Monday and Tuesday. His rounds of 71-72-143 earned him only second alternate, whereas 143 would have won at Cypress Run. Arnold Palmer's grandson, Sam Saunders of Windemere, is the first alternate at 143. Ben Leong of Malaysia (68-69-137) earned medalist honors. * Palmer won the U.S. Amateur in 1954 and Jack Nicklaus in 1959. Tampa's Fred Ridley won the title in 1975 and went on to become president of the USGA. St. Petersburg's Buddy Alexander won his final match in 1986 over Chris Kite and is currently the men's coach at Florida.

CGA: Jim Fannin and Wayne Banting teamed up in a better-ball match at Cheval on Monday to post a winning score of 4-under 68. Vic Morelli and Decker Todd were second at 71.

Richard Bullock, a new member at Innisbrook, teamed with Jerry Beeker to go even lower, 67, to take the senior division title.

In net scoring, it took a 63 to win for Stan Lewis and Jim Montali.

JUNIORS: In a First Tee St. Petersburg match at the Bayou Club on Monday, John Valenti won the boys 16-18 division with a 74. He was followed by Mike Weiss at 75 and Trey Hill at 76. Amber Pedersen won the girls title with an 85.

Devin Hernandez won the boys 13-15 with a 77. Bobby Musselman also had 77, and David Dresselhaus took third with an 80. The girls' 13-15 winner was Alexandra Armor with a 94.

COMING UP: The Florida State Parent-Child Championship will return to Walt Disney World Resort today and Sunday. Entries are closed. For tee times and pairings, go to www.fsga.org.

* The Back To School Classic, formerly the Ryan Wells Memorial Classic, will be held at Innisbrook on Aug. 19-20. Age divisions include high school boys and middle school boys and girls. The entry fee is $100. For more information, call Doug Laseter at 942-5557.