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It's championship day for juniors at Scotland Yards

And it's another two days of work for pro Bill Rinaldo, who has been helping run the North Florida PGA Junior Championship since 1982.

By JAMAL THALJI

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 15, 2000


Need it even be said that he enjoys it?

"I don't know if there's anything I like about the tournament besides that I like being around the kids," he said. "They're a good bunch of kids. It's a lot of work, but it's worth it in the end."

Rinaldo's course, Scotland Yards, will be holding its fourth such championship starting at 8 a.m. today.

There, 120 boys and girls will vie to advance to the 2000 Junior PGA Championship, to be held Aug. 23-26 at the PGA National Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens.

The tournament is divided into three age groups: 11-and-under, 12-15 and 16-17. Trophies will be awarded to the top four in each boys and girls age group. But after two days of stroke play, only the top boy and girl will advance to August's championship.

Usually, if there's an abundance of players, a qualifier would have been held Wednesday for today's championship.

Rinaldo said that isn't the case this season, and he believes the field was reduced to a manageable number because school may still be in session in some counties.

"In this case," said Scotland Yards' head pro, "everybody got in."

Rinaldo said the drought has hit Scotland Yards hard the past few months. Even the thundershowers that have rolled over Pasco County in the past few days have barely touched the course.

"We haven't had (rain) here at all," Rinaldo said. "We got about three-fourths of an inch (Tuesday) night. It was the first rain in six months. We've missed a lot of the rain they've been getting on the coast.

"The golf course is in pretty good shape considering what we've gone through. I think it will make the golf course play a little faster and a little short, because they'll get more roll than normal.

"What normally would have been the rough against the edge of the fairway, it's going to be non-existent," Rinaldo added. "It really shouldn't be a factor. I think the biggest factor is it's going to play short for the kids more than ever before because it's drier and higher.

"If they've been playing around central Florida, they're used to it anyway."

HOW ABOUT THAT: Lake Jovita pro David Shaffer thinks he might be onto something.

Back when he was a standout golfer for Pasco, Shaffer hit two double eagles -- once as a junior in 1985 and a second time as a senior at Lake Bernadette. That earned him a mention in Golf Digest.

Now, 15 years later, Shaffer has done it again. In the June 2 Southwest Chapter PGA Pro-Am, he recorded a double eagle on a par-5 hole at the Dunes at Seville. "I knocked it in from 250 yards out," he said. "It sounds pretty sweet. That's better than a hole-in-one.

"I was going to call Golf World to see if there's a record for that."

That double eagle helped Shaffer shoot a 69 and capture third place and a $500 prize.

"I'd like to know what the record is for that," he said. "A hole-in-one's a lot easier than a double eagle. It takes a lot of luck.

"You've got to hit it far enough to get there, but it takes a lot of luck to get it into the hole."

HELPING OUT: Lake Jovita will be holding a benefit scramble on July 10 for the Hardy Benevolent Fund. Shaffer said the fundraiser is to help pay about $24,000 in medical bills incurred by one of Lake Jovita's employees who is without medical insurance.

The scramble will have a shotgun start at 2 p.m. The field is limited to 20 teams of six men each, and the entry fee is $300 per team. A barbecue dinner also will be provided.

Payment by cash or check is due at the start of the fundraiser. For more information, call (352) 588-9200.

CAMPING: Meadow Oaks is offering a youth camp for ages 5-16 beginning Tuesday. Classes cost $8 per day and will be from 9 to 11 a.m. through the summer.

The deal includes a hot dog and soda at the end of each session. At least one parent or guardian is urged to accompany young children. For more information, call Meadow Oaks at (727) 856-2878.

CAMPING, THE SEQUEL: Tampa Bay will have a junior program beginning July 17. PGA professionals will teach the classes for boys and girls ages 7 to 18, and they will meet three times a week for two weeks.

The cost is $65 and the registration deadline is July 10. For more information, call (352) 588-5454.

THE WINNERS ARE ... The results from Tampa Bay's men's day on June 8 are: First -- Len Shaull, Dave Gaiser, Marty McDonals and Don Maynard; second -- Larry Golden, Verg Smith, John Bartley, Stan Kistner; third -- Jack Davitt, John Buelk, Jim Yates, Bob Wedel; fourth -- Bob Wilkison, Chuck Holland, Harry Dean; fifth -- Mac CcCarty, Harold Johnston, Emil Pinter, Bill Hawk; sixth -- Jim Easterday, Al Gerlosky, Dick Hedlund, Marv Streit; seventh -Phil Bonacci, Ken Binns, Buzz Brudzinski; eighth -- Mike Varholick, Jim Hannan, A.J. Shurtz, Casey Przybocki.

-- Got golf? Contact Pasco Times golf writer Jamal Thalji by phone at (352) 521-5757, ext. 25; by e-mail at thalji@sptimes.com; or by fax at (352) 521-0290.

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