Not her best - but still a strong finish

By Dave Theall, Times Correspondent
Published February 23, 2008

A Clearwater Country Club member finished tied for first and second in a recent West Coast Women's tournament at Dunedin Country Club.

Lisa Hartley, who plays to a 5 handicap, didn't shoot in the 70s as she usually does, but still her 12-over 84 held up for a three-way tie for first in the premier Flight AA. She shared first with Jeanne Rothe of Sarasota and Jackie Currier of Plant City, a former winner of the association's annual championship, which dates to 1940.

The co-winners had to take a backseat to overall winner Barb Bowen of Parrish, who carries a handicap index of 11 and is assigned to Flight A in league matches.

Although Bowen was playing the Dunedin course for the first time, she was making critical putts when needed.

"I consistently made 3-10 foot putts, and that helped," Bowen said. "You have to be careful there; the greens are crowned and very fast. I had a few disappointing holes, but overall I had a good round."

Bowen, who has only been a member of the women's league for two years, said she looks forward to the weekly matches at area courses ranging from Black Diamond in Lecanto to Laurel Oak in Sarasota.

Hartley took her round of 84 in stride, saying it was difficult to go for the flagstick on greens, an approach she favors.

"Those greens are sloped and fast, so the smart thing to do there is try to let the ball run up to the flag," Hartley said. "I had trouble doing that, plus I got acquainted with a couple of trees on the course, which didn't help. Overall, the renovations at Dunedin Country Club are a big improvement; the course is in great shape."

The first-place tie was Hartley's fifth victory with the West Coast women in the past two years.

Later this year, Hartley, 63, will try to win back the Clearwater Country Club women's title she lost to close friend Shelley Urban last year. Urban has won the title five times in the past six years. Toward that goal, Hartley, a retired New Hampshire state social worker supervisor, has been working with teaching pro Gary Metzger. She had taken lessons from teaching pro Ned Hall at Clearwater Country Club, crediting him with taking her game to "a higher level."

More results: Innisbrook's Irini Perivolaris won Flight AA net honors with 77. Kathy Conroy of East Lake Woodlands won Flight B with 86 gross. Barb Lehr (87) of the host club won Flight C by two strokes over Joyce Wineinger of Innisbrook, and Mary Bober of Cove Cay won D with 96.

County golf: Juice Ahern and Mark Wheaton of Tarpon Woods complemented each other in a better-ball match at Countryside Country Club, shooting 5-under 67. They were followed by Jeff Neugebauer and Ken Palladino of Dunedin (69).

Claud Johnston of Clearwater and Dick Clemens captured seniors honors with 67. In net scoring, Jeff Wilson and Stan Coveleskie (61) prevailed, while Irene Sauve and Sara Wold (66) took the women's title.

Largo course: Among the 22 scramble teams last weekend at the public course, one emerged the winner, shooting 15-under 47. The members were Mack Vines of Seminole withEd Kerns, Jim Mahoney and Wayne Moore, all of Largo.

On Sunday, David Bolen of Largo drained his tee shot on the 135-yard fifth hole with a pitching wedge for an eagle.

PGA Tour: Two former New Year's Invitational (St. Petersburg Country Club) winners cracked the top 10 at last weekend's Northern Trust Open in Los Angeles.

Tampa's Ryuji Imada (Chamberlain High) tied for fifth. And John Holmes of Kentucky tied for seventh. Holmes, 25, has already won on tour this year.

Juniors: The Pinellas PAL program met at Airco Golf Course on Valentine's Day, and Christian Senger led the field with 1-over 37, followed by Matt Cote (41). Sara Simon led the girls with 50.

- Ryan Hicks of Countryside won (ages 8-9) a 36-hole Plantation Junior Tour event at the Claw course on the USF campus. The future pro shot 92-84-176 for a 39-stroke margin of victory.

PODS Championship: It's not too late to sign up for an opportunity to serve as a volunteer at the premier PGA Tour event March 6-9 at Innisbrook in Palm Harbor. Volunteers can chose their assignment under the warm sun or indoors. For details, go to www.podschampionship.com and look for the link "Volunteers." For information, call (727) 942-5557.

Pinellas Men's Interclub: East Lake Woodlands will host the next match at 12:30 p.m. March 3.

Athletes of the Century: In 2000, a 16-member panel of the Associated Press voted on the top 100 athletes. Five golfers made the list.

Babe Zaharias, who was a two-time Olympic gold medalist (1932) in track and field and an All-American in basketball as well, was No. 9 overall and the first woman.

Jack Nicklaus finished 12th;Ben Hogan, 25th; Arnold Palmer, 33rd; Tiger Woods, 58th; and Sam Snead, 75th.

Where would Tiger fit into an updated list headed by Babe Ruth, Michael Jordan and Jim Thorpe of Carlisle Indian School fame?