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Seven Rivers coach: Roth is for real

By CAREY FREEMAN

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 29, 2000


LECANTO -- Few expected to see Chris Roth's name atop the Class A, District 5 Championships leaderboard Tuesday at Scotland Yard Golf Club, but they better get used to it.

Yep, according to those who know him best, this is just the beginning for the Seven Rivers Christian sophomore.

Roth finished in a three-way tie for second with a 77 on the par-72 layout, and is one of four individuals who advanced to Monday's Region 3 tournament at World Woods.

"I am not surprised," Warriors coach Ross Kuntz said. "Chris won five of 13 events in the (North Suncoast Junior Golf Association).

"Chris worked real hard this summer, and I've been working personally with him for four years and I've watched him get better and better.

"I told him this season, "This is your year.' If he gets his head on right and his mechanics are sound, this may be the year he breaks through," Kuntz said.

It could be argued that Roth has broken through -- thanks to his district performance, which was second only to Lecanto's D.J. Wheat (76) among Citrus County entries.

Yet Kuntz is holding out hope that his young protege will be able to make an even tougher cut Monday as he shoots for one of the two state-championship qualifying spots.

However, while Roth -- a World Woods member -- is familiar with the course, the task at hand may be his toughest challenge to date.

He will be joined by Hernando freshmen Keegan Ledford (82) and Fred Farmer (77) and Central's Andrew Coogan along with some of the best golfers from districts 6, 7 and 8.

"He's played (World Wood's Rolling Oaks course) a lot," Kuntz said. "His dad has a membership for (Chris) and himself so he's played it a lot.

"If he gets started well and uses his head and doesn't make any big numbers, he's got a chance to move on."

Roth isn't Citrus County's only representative.

Lecanto qualified for the last of four regional spots with a score of 326 -- 16 shots off the pace of district champion Zephyrhills.

Wheat led the Panthers and was followed closely by Kyle Metz at 78.

Lecanto coach Chuck Holestein isn't sure what to expect from the regional competition, though he thinks it will be formidable.

However, Holestein isn't ruling out the chance of his team garnering one of the two state championship berths.

"The kids have got to come out and play," Holestein said. "And we've got to have one wildcard -- someone to play better than average -- and one or two others need to be below or around their average.

"Out of eight teams, I'd say there are five -- Saddlebrook, Zephyrhills, Pasco, Orlando Trinity Prep and Lecanto -- that can win it."

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