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Berkeley edges Wharton on final hole of match

Berkeley's John Stevens, playing in the No. 6 spot, managed a bogey on the ninth hole to give his team a one-stroke victory.

By MIKE READLING

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 4, 2000


TAMPA -- Fifteen of the 18 golfers on the course at Hunter's Green had already putted out and the coaches from Wharton, Berkeley Prep and Jesuit were starting to tabulate the final scores.

Berkeley and Wharton it turned out were tied and their No. 6 golfers were going to decide the outcome.

About the time word of all the possible scenarios circulated around the ninth green, Berkeley's John Stevens' second shot splashed into the water. You could practically see the Buccaneers' hopes of winning the match sink with that ball.

But Stevens dropped and knocked his next shot to about 10 feet from the hole, then made a curling, slippery putt to save bogey and help Berkeley defeat Wharton by one stroke, 155-156. Jesuit finished four strokes back at 159.

"Wharton and Jesuit are two of the best golf teams in Hillsborough County," Berkeley coach Bobby Rinehart said. "It's a quality win any time you can beat those two."

The Bucs were led by Ty Harris with 37, Ty Callahan at 38, Mike McDonald at 39 and Stevens' 41. Those scores barely beat out Wharton's top four of Brian Wertz (37), Joey Slater (38), Mike Giammaresi (39) and Dave Tiffenberg (42).

Jesuit finished what turned out to be an off-day with Eric Escobio and Adam Hoyer each at 39, Rob Legg at 40 and No. 1 golfer Adam Swope tying teammate Jeremy Gaffney at 41.

The match began under very ominous conditions as a heavy downpour soaked three groups as they waited to tee off on No. 1. After about 10 minutes, the rain subsided but a stiff breeze kicked up, making club choices treacherous for the golfers.

"It was a different day to play golf today," Wharton coach Lee Gonzalez said. "Usually in Florida you don't expect to get a wind like that. I'd guess it was probably a two-club wind today."

The wind really made its presence known on the par-4 ninth as several golfers either hit over the green on their second shots or came up short and were forced to chip up onto the undulating surface. Wharton's Wertz was one of those golfers.

Wertz hit his third shot 20 yards over the green, clearing a sand trap on the back side, only to have his ball rest in some wet muck on the edge of the lake. He ended up dropping and scoring a double bogey. It turned out a par would have won the match for the Wildcats. Mike Giammaresi also double bogeyed the final hole.

"The wind was a big factor today," Gonzalez said. "I mean those two Jesuit kids never shoot in the 40s. I think we're okay though."

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