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One stroke gives Saxon county title

Published December 16, 2007


The margin of victory at the 2007 County Golf Association Championship couldn't have been any closer: one stroke.

That's all that separated winner Frank Saxon from Countryside Country Club member Mark Wilkins after 36 holes. Saxon took a seven-stroke lead, 71 to 78, over Wilkins going into the final round only to see it nearly evaporate as Wilkins crafted his own round of 71 - only to come up a single stroke short.

"I tried to play a little conservatively the second day knowing I had a small cushion (only two strokes over Tony Baccari of Odessa) and barely held on since I hit it into the trees on both the 16th and 18th holes," said Saxon, 58, a five-time CGA winner who was eligible for the 55-and-over Senior Division.

"I had to make 6-foot putts on Nos. 17 and 18 for a par and bogey to salvage 78. But playing in the morning gave me an advantage because it put pressure on them (afternoon-round pursuers) because it gave them a number to shoot for. That's added pressure."

Wilkins had two birdies, including a 15-footer, and one bogey in his round of 71 on the nine-hole Pine and Lake courses at Countryside.

"I hit the ball well but missed four or five 8-10 footers for birdies," Wilkins said. "I had my chances, including the opening round at St. Petersburg Country Club, where I lost three strokes by hitting it into the trees on one hole and missing a real short putt on another."

Baccari finished in a tie for third (150) with Juice Ahern of Tarpon Woods, who finished strong with 1-over 73.

Jim Shepherd of Pinellas Park followed up his opening round of 73 with 76 at Countryside to squeeze out a win over co-runnersup Charlie Hilleboe (75-75-150) of Clearwater and defending champion Mike Sanderson(75-75-150) of Homosassa. Jim Montali of Palm Harbor took fourth (75-76-151), followed by Art Sauve (81-73-154).

The net winners were Brian Baldwin (66-69-135) in the Regular Championship and Joe Lallier (70-64-134) in the Senior Division.

West Coast Women: Pat Rogers of Tampa Palms went low - 2-under 70 - winning Monday's match at Walden Lakes. Clearwater Country Club's Lisa Hartley took second (78) in the net division behind Debbie Mook Sang of River Hills. Sue Rooney of Innisbrook won Flight B with 88, Margaret Leigh of Countryside finished tops (90) in Flight C, and Ellen Freund (88) of Clearwater and Shirley Durfee (94) of St. Petersburg finished 1-2 in Flight D.

Largo course: The biweekly scramble winners at 13-under 49 were Greg Arrey of Seminole, Bill Hackney of Clearwater, Alice Stevenson of Indian Rocks Beach and Don Harvey of Largo.

Belleair CC: Gail Flanagan won the Women's Golf Association 2007 President's Cup with a net 127 (64-63) on the par-71 West course.

Florida Junior Tour: Last week at Lake Jovita in Dade City, Tampa's A.J. Newell (Northside Christian) finished fifth in the girls 13-15 division with rounds of 80-80-160. She was followed by Ryan Ashburn (Indian Rocks Christian), 85-78-163.Cindy Feng, 11, of Orlando won shooting 75-73-148.

Matt Cote of Palm Harbor led area boys 13-15 with rounds of 74-76-150 for fourth place behind winner (71-72-143) Shun Yat Hak of Beijing, China. Other top Pinellas scores were posted by Palm Harbor's Aaron Watson (153) and Dustin Dingus (154), plus Taylor Hancock (159) of Clearwater and Jimmy Weck (163) of St. Petersburg.

St. Nick Open: The 21st annual St. Nick Open today at Mangrove Bay drew a full field of 180 players just hours after registration began Nov. 1. It's a two-person fun scramble designed to enrich a local family's Christmas by providing gifts for everyone. Dave Girouex and Andy Arnold of St. Petersburg are the defending champions.

Men's Interclub: Twelve 10-man teams from Pinellas will compete at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Vinoy.

HOLE-IN-ONE: Jim Hagan of Belleair Bluffs aced the 151-yard 17th hole at East Bay with a 6-iron.

[Last modified December 15, 2007, 21:49:29]

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