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Local qualifies for Amateur

By FRANK PASTOR

© St. Petersburg Times,
published June 29, 2001


TAMPA -- Brian Wertz bought a new driver. He had stiffer shafts installed in his irons.

But it was the hundreds of miles he added to the odometer of his father's car during the past week that enabled him to qualify for his first U.S. Junior Amateur.

Wertz, 17, of Tampa played nine rounds of golf in seven days, ending the trip at a U.S. Junior Qualifier on Monday at Windermere Country Club near Orlando.

He shot 141 for the 36-hole qualifier to advance to the junior amateur July 24-28 at Oak Hills Country Club in San Antonio, Texas.

Just one day after the final round of the Florida State Amateur Championship, Wertz shot 70-71 to finish two strokes ahead of Gi Won Suh of Eustis and Greg Forest of Palm City, who also advanced to the junior amateur.

"I've never felt as comfortable in my swing as I do right now," said Wertz, who failed to qualify in two previous attempts. "I guess that's what helped me."

Wertz, who will be a senior at Wharton, had five birdies and three bogeys on his way to a first-day 70. He was less consistent in his second round but managed four birdies to finish at 71.

Wertz had plenty of time to work out any kinks in his swing.

After a practice round at Windermere on Tuesday, Wertz played 36 holes Wednesday at World Woods Golf Club in Brooksville, site of the state amateur.

He competed in the state amateur Thursday through Sunday before returning to Windermere on Monday for the junior qualifier.

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