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Largo's Kraft moves on in Open qualifiers

By DAVE THEALL
Published May 12, 2007


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Veteran PGA Tour pro Greg Kraft of Largo had five birdies and two bogeys en route to 3-under 69 at the U.S. Open local qualifier at Innisbrook's Island course to secure his place at a sectional qualifier.

Starting on the back nine Wednesday, Kraft opened strong with birdies on Nos. 11 and 13, then played to his advantage.

"Qualifiers are a different game, " said co-medalist Kraft, a product of the University of Tampa. "After that start I just tried to hit the correct side of the green; I didn't play aggressively."

Kraft missed only two greens in regulation as he proceeded to birdie Nos. 1, 2 and 6 on the front nine. His two bogeys were on three-putt greens. Teaching pro Jim Smith of Missing Links Range caddied for Kraft.

Zach Sobel, a sophomore at Palm Harbor University, was the only other Florida qualifier among six spots for the 84 contestants. The two-time Times high school player of the year shot 37 on his opening nine but recovered with a hot putter, shooting 33 on his second nine for third place (70) overall.

Other qualifiers were Lee Williamson, Ind., 69; Dicky Pride, Ala., 71; Darren Points, Ill.;, 71, and Take Koyama, Japan, 71.

LADIES INTERCLUB CHAMPIONSHIP: The Belleair women's team wrapped up the 2006-07 title at last month's final match held at Innisbrook. A charter member of the league, Belleair won for the first time. The team was led by co-captains Carole Christensen and Cathy Peters.

"It was great to finally win, " said Lisa Hirsh, a member of the team and president of the Belleair Women's Association. "All 16 of us who played during the year celebrated."

WEST COAST WOMEN: Innisbrook's Kim Hollister shot 6-over 78 to win last week's Flight A match at Tara in Bradenton. Her round was the second best of the day, only surpassed by the Flight AA 76 posted by Debbie Mook Sang of River Hills.

Lisa Hartley of Clearwater Country Club shot 81 for second low gross in Flight AA. In Flight B, Mary Ann Neary won (82) by a stroke over Kay Pederson of Countryside. Second-place finishes were taken by Nancy Strite of Feather Sound with 91 and Ginni Miller of East Lake Woodlands with 95 in Flight D.

FLORIDA WOMEN: Mary Lou Edwards of Palm Harbor and Nan Habjan of Seminole won their opening matches at the State Championship in Key Largo.

DUNEDIN INVITATIONAL: Club champion Josh Pierce teamed with Justin Foster, 16, Tony Brose and Bill Brummett for 14-under 58 to win last week's annual event, a fund-raiser to help two deserving high school students pay for college.

In net scoring, Keith Kurber led his team of Ray Sturgis, Al Deitle and John Williams to the win. Barb Lehr, Joyce Hatt, Linda Theis and Susie MacIntosh won the women's division with 6-under 66.

Eric Swanson, a senior at Dunedin High with a weighted grade point average of 4.72, was one of the recipients of a $3, 000 grant. He plans to attend the University of Florida to study to become a physicist.

Rodrigo Diaz was the other recipient among 34 applicants. He'll attend Case Western University to study biomedical engineering. Diaz captained the Dunedin tennis team last season and played on the soccer team.

KIDS KLASSIC: The annual fund-raiser at the Chi Chi Rodriguez course in Clearwater had veteran Tom Jewell in the winner's circle for the sixth time in the past eight years. Playing with East Lake Woodlands teammate Jon Nelson in a two-person scramble, they shot 6-under 28 over nine holes for the win. Jewell, the former director of the JCPenney Classic Mixed-Team Championship, turned 77 Thursday. He plays to a 9 handicap.

COUNTY LEAGUE: John King of Tampa dominated the senior and regular divisions last week at Lansbrook, shooting 1-over 73. That score effectively held off Tom Bremer and Mark Dinkel, both 75, in the senior division. Eric Ashwoth took the senior net title with a 61. Sean Martin won the regular division with 74 with Bob Thornton winning net with 67.

COURSE RECORD: The way Clearwater's Steve Monroe started his round at Lansbrook last week - bogey-bogey - on the first two holes, he was on target for a round of 80. But he birdied six of the next seven holes en route to a record 8-under 64. Overall, his scorecard showed 14 birdies, three bogeys and a single par. Monroe was playing from the blue tees at 6, 249 yards.

Almost as rare as the course record itself, the former record holder, Lansbrook head pro Stephen Roach, was playing alongside Monroe. Roach's record was 66. Monroe, a former Clearwater High standout, plays professionally in various long-driving competitions. He is exploring opportunities to return to one of the regular pro developmental tours.

COLLEGES: Rachel Edwards (Seminole High) finished tied for 13th (79-74-153) for winning Daytona Beach Community College at the Bash at the Beach tournament in South Daytona Beach over 11 teams. Edwards and her teammates play in the National JC Women's Championship starting Monday at LPGA International in Daytona Beach.

- Preston Knox, a four-year starter at Dunedin High and a member of the Times 2006 all-Pinellas second team, will play for Warner Southern College, in Lake Wales, in the fall.

BELLEAIR CHAMPION: Clearwater's Gregory McClimans won the club's junior title for the third consecutive year, shooting 4-under 67. A junior at Calvary Christian, McClimans also was named to the 2006 Times all-Pinellas second team.

MEN'S INTERCLUB LEADERS: Countryside remains in first after eight matches. With two matches to play, the club has 58.5 points to Cove Cay's 54. Seminole Lake is third (50.5), followed by Dunedin (45.5), Bayou Club (42) and Belleview Biltmore (37), among 12 clubs. Countryside, led by Randy Wehling and Mark Wilkins, hosts the May match Monday at 1 p.m.

[Last modified May 11, 2007, 22:16:28]


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