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    Petrillo loses poise, tourney

    By DAVE THEALL

    © St. Petersburg Times,
    published September 11, 2001


    Putting it positively, golfers have good and not so good days.

    What happened to Tiera Verde's Mary Ann Petrillo in last week's U.S. Golf Association Mid-Amateur qualifier at Avila has to be classified in the latter category.

    Petrillo, who plays to a 3 handicap, needed only a par on the par-4 18th hole to earn medalist honors and advance to the national championship, Oct. 6-11 at Fox Run Country Club in Eureka, Mo.

    Due in large part to hitting three second shots into the drink, she walked off the green with an 8-over par 12 and a final round of 89.

    "It was a John Daly thing where I was tired and frustrated," said Petrillo, the 1999 winner of the prestigious West Coast Women's Golf Association championship.

    "I found the 18th tee way back where there's just a narrow shoot to the green, and I was mad and discouraged," she said. "That's something I have to work on."

    After a good drive down the fairway of the 377-yard hole, Petrillo proceeded to pull her 7-wood approach shot into the water. Then choosing her 6-iron, she found the water twice more.

    "I started off good with a 2-over 38 on the front, but bogeys on 16 and 17 bothered me," Petrillo said. "I thought I was out of it at that point and was discouraged. So by the time I reached the 18th tee, after walking in this tournament, I was tired and frustrated.

    "I regret the approach I took. I'm basically a laid back person, but get frustrated with golf. This (tournament) just caps off a frustrating year for me."

    What Petrillo, 40, wasn't aware of is that she wasn't the only player in the field having problems.

    Winter Park's Ann Pohira, the state amateur champ, could do no better than 82 for medalist honors. The other qualifying spots were taken by Kathleen Hunt of Cheval with an 84 and Sarah Phillips of Tallahassee, 86.

    JUNIORS: Dunedin's Tim Sullivan, the No. 1 player for Palm Harbor University High School, shot a career-best competitive round of 3-under 69 on the South course at East Lake Woodlands to win the Vincent Reid Academy Back to School Tournament two weeks ago.

    Sullivan hit 16 greens in regulation as he made three birdies and 15 pars for his first bogey-less round.

    "I felt confident with my short irons into the green, chipped up tight and had no three-putts," Sullivan said.

    Matt Isel of Countryside High was the runner-up (77) in the boys 16-18 division, and Michael Novotny (79) was third.

    The prior weekend at Innisbrook, in the 36-hole Tampa Bay Junior Golf Foundation Back to School Tournament, Sullivan prevailed over a stronger field with a 75-73-148 performance.

    Magge Herndon won the girls 13-15 division at East Lake Woodlands with a 79. She was followed by Brittany Jones (85) and Lindsay Robertson (96).

    COLLEGE: Countryside graduate David Cosper, the Times 2000 Suncoast Player of the Year, is part of the Sept. 8 Golfweek magazine feature article on the defending national champion Florida Gators.

    However, in the story and a picture caption, he is identified as "David Cooper."

    Coach Buddy Alexander has five of last year's top six players returning.

    COMING UP: The 25th annual County Golf Association Championship will be played Friday and Saturday at Fox Hollow.

    Former Toronto Blue Jays pitcher John Cerutti is the defending champion, but he won't defend his title because he's working as the television analyst for the Jays in Toronto.

    According to Ray Goodman, director of the Jimmy Mann-founded CGA, that thrusts five of six low handicap players into the forefront.

    They include 1998 winner Neil VanLeeuwen, who is a scratch player, Steve Perry, John King, Danny Harrington and Tim De Leon, who crafted a 10-under 62 at East Bay earlier this summer.

    Wayne Smith is the senior division defending champion. He should be challenged by Jim Bailey of St. Petersburg and Dunedin's Wayne Mateer, the runner-up the past two years.

    For information on entering the flighted tournament, call Goodman, 530-7226.

    The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Tampa Bay will have a benefit tournament at Belleair Country on Sept. 22 at 1 p.m. For information, call Melanie Hopkins, 581-9427.

    On Sept. 24 at 9 a.m., Countryside Country Club will play host to the Helena Paolini benefit tournament.

    Paolini has been the assistant manager at the Palm Harbor Ale House the past five years. She has Lou Gehrig's disease.

    For a team registration form, call Bill Gilkes, 799-2397.

    The Suncoast Junior Golf Tour's Masters Tournament, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at Silver Dollar Golf Course, will have the names of each player on the bibs of their caddies.

    That's the same thing you will see with the pros in this week's Tampa Bay Classic. The junior match is for players 4-17 and will feature four sets of tees. Call 742-7307 to enter.

    Three members of the West Coast Women's Association have been selected to play on the Florida team in next month's Southeast Women's Team Championship.

    They are Terrell Italiano, Sharon Gonsalves and Debbie Mook-Sang.

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