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Pasco alum Turner begins busy summer with NFPGA win

By WAYNE GRUMET

© St. Petersburg Times,
published June 14, 2001


The summer is off to a great start for 17-year-old Justin Turner.

First, Turner celebrated his graduation from Pasco High on May 25. Two weeks later, he picked up his first North Florida PGA Tour win in Bradenton.

Turner won the June 8 event by two strokes, finishing with 77. Thanks to a hot start, Turner was able to open up an early lead and hold on for the title despite a pair of pars and a bogey on the final three holes.

"I was kind of good throughout the whole deal," Turner said. "The guy was coming up on the final three holes. I wish I had finished stronger."

Turner has been competing on the NFPGA Tour for about two years. His previous best finish was third at an event in Lakeland. He did win an employee tournament at Lake Jovita.

Turner will attend Pasco-Hernando Community College in the fall but has other plans in the meantime. "I'm going to play in a bunch of events over the summer," Turner said. "I enjoy playing."

Turner will be competing in the NFPGA Westfield Championship at Scotland Yards on June 14 and 15.

HEAVY HITTERS: Timber Oaks golf pro Suzanne Pace said she thought she had a few good drives left in her. The former long drive champion was swinging to advance in last Saturday's RE/MAX Long Drive Qualifier.

Pace certainly felt comfortable on her own course, especially after one of the 24 balls she hit traveled the farthest, coming to rest 244 yards, 8 inches down the fairway.

"It was pretty (bad) but it was good enough to win," Pace said with a laugh.

Pace and three other golfers will compete in Haines City in September for a berth in the districts. Tampa's Andy Davis advanced in the open division with a drive of 359 yards, 10 inches. Port Charlotte's John Downey also advanced out of the open division with a drive of 350 yards.

Bill Droege advanced in the senior division with a drive of 344 yards, 2 inches.

A total of 15 qualifiers competed Saturday and each brought specialized equipment.

"Some of these guys are professionals. The have sponsors and travel from spot to spot," Pace said. "One guy had a 60-inch driver. It sounded like a chopper blade.

"It's very difficult for a traditional golf swing to win these things. They have super long, light clubs. They come right out of their shoes."

Pace's sights are set on advancing to the world championship in Mesquite, Nev. But before thinking that far ahead, she acknowledges that she has a lot of work to do.

"I'm going to do a little conditioning. I've lost a lot of leg strength after my bilateral foot surgery," Pace said.

"I also need to improve my equipment." HEAVY LIFTING: The 14-member Pasco Power Team will host a statewide weightlifting meet Saturday at noon at Bourbon Street Bar and Grill in New Port Richey.

The event will have $1,000 in prize money up for grabs. First place wins $500, second gets $300 and third receives $200. Call Bart Quinn at (727) 919-4338 for information.

JUNIOR GOLF: Meadow Oaks will host a golf minicamp each Monday until Aug. 6. Buzz Walker and Alex Koskos will instruct students ages 8 to 17.

The camp will run from 9 to 11:30 a.m. and costs $8 a week.

Walker and Koskos will cover areas of the game from basics to the full swing, including the short game and rules and etiquette. Clubs can be provided.

Call (727) 856-2878 for information.

HOOPS CAMP: Saint Leo University will host a basketball day camp July 9-13.

The camp is open to boys and girls entering grades three through nine. Saint Leo men's basketball coach Mike Madagan will direct the camp. Madagan and his staff will emphasize individual fundamental skills.

Campers of all skill levels are welcome. Participants will be placed in groups based on size, age and ability.

Both half- and full-day sessions are available. A full day costs $150 and a half day costs $125. All campers will receive a ball, T-shirt and lunch.

For information, call Madagan at (352) 588-8224.

- Wayne Grumet can be reached by e-mail at bkhwlg@msn.com or by fax at (352) 521-0290.

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