Bumping bogeys merely a blip

Zach Sobel shakes off a slow start to win and help PHU to a team title in Green Devil Classic.

Published September 29, 2006

ST. PETERSBURG - Bogey-bogey is not how Zach Sobel wanted to start the annual St. Petersburg High Green Devil Classic, but in the long run it may have helped him.

Sobel won the tournament last year as a Palm Harbor University freshman and had high hopes of defending his title Thursday at the Vinoy Golf Club.

Twice he had to buckle down, but in the end he used one eagle and six birdies to help shoot 4-under 68 for first place.

"I saw how hard it was for me to win last year," Sobel said. "I knew I was capable of winning it again this year."

Sobel quickly went 2 over before buckling down the first time. A 20-foot eagle on No. 9 helped.

With four holes remaining, Sobel was 3 under, but heard a rumor another competitor was 1 under. He buckled down a second time and finished with two more birdies to win by five. He bettered his 2005 tally by a stroke.

"I kind of put pressure on myself," Sobel said. "I wanted to beat last year's score."

Largo's Scott Wilson took second after a one-hole playoff. Wilson finished with 73, including four birdies, and shot par on the playoff hole. Also posting 73s were St. Petersburg's Kyle Menke and Countryside's Zach Walters.

Wilson, a senior, said this may have been a career-best score.

"I did what I wanted to do," he said. "I hit greens and fairways all day long."

Largo junior Andrea Messer was the top female in the field. Her only birdies came on two of her final three holes. She fired a 74 to tie for fifth and match her 2005 score. "I'm just going out there to play my best and see how many (boys) I can beat," she said.

Palm Harbor U. collected 295 points for the team honor. Sobel's teammates, whose scores counted in the team event, were Tyler Corbett (75), Andrew Henning (75) and Mark Fazzini (77). Largo placed second with 300 points followed by Countryside with 302.