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Florida women lose at Southeast event

By DAVE THEALL

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 31, 2001


Do all winning streaks have to come to an unhappy ending? (Answer below.)

Do all winning streaks have to come to an unhappy ending? (Answer below.)

Florida's seven-year run in the Southeast Women's Team Championship, an annual event with a Ryder-Cup team format, ended last week.

The 11-member Florida team, including Linda Jensen of Palm Harbor and Sharon Gonsalves of Tampa, lost 14-121/2 to host Tennessee at Colonial Country Club in Memphis.

Gonsalves, a seven-time winner of the West Coast Women's Golf Association title, said they lost to a younger and better squad.

"We were 31/2 points behind after the second day and closed to within 11/2 on Wednesday," Gonsalves said. "(The players) are getting younger and better every year. Many are former college players.

"My second-day partner and I, Taffy Brower, were the oldest on our team at 56," Gonsalves said. "However, we tied our better-ball match for a half-point."

In Wednesday's final match, Gonsalves beat her opponent from Louisiana 6 and 5 for a full point.

"Despite the wind that day, 30 mph, I was able to par the first five holes while she made a couple of mistakes, enabling me to win four of them for a great start," said Gonsalves, the wife of Palma Ceia Country Club's head pro Gil Gonsalves.

On the final day, Jensen, a former state amateur champion under the name Linda Brown, lost her singles match.

Debbie Mook-Sang, a third area member of the Florida team, lost her alternate-shot match. Florida will play host to the 2002 match.

PGA TOUR Q SCHOOL: Ty Tryon, a 17-year-old high school junior, shared the lead in last week's first-stage qualifying tournament at World Woods in Brooksville.

Tryon shot a 15-under 273, tying with Paraguay's Raul Fretes.

Should Tryon get through the final two stages of Q-School and get his Tour card, he would start 2002 as a nonmember because the PGA Tour Policy Board preliminarily approved an age limit of 18 for members last month.

Tryon would become a member when he turns 18 on June 2.

If he fails to get his card, he could play on sponsor exemptions before he turns 18. Nonmembers can get up to 12 sponsor exemptions per year.

St. Petersburg High School graduate Dan Stone, who went on to earn All-America honors twice at Florida, and former SPJC player Joe Cioe of Crystal River did not qualify. The second-stage tournament is Nov. 13-16 at Orlando's Orange County National, in Tryon's back yard. The Q-School final is Nov. 28-Dec. 3.

LPGA TOUR: Tampa's Dawn Coe-Jones is making this year, her 18th, the last as a full-time player on the women's tour.

A three-time winner with more than $120,000 in earnings this season, Coe-Jones plans to cut back on her schedule to spend more time with her 5-year-old son, Jimmy.

COLLEGES: South Florida finished 14th in the Gary Koch/Cleveland Golf Intercollegiate at Old Memorial in Tampa two weeks ago.

Ryan Shears, a former East Lake High School player, finished fourth for the Bulls with an 85-78-76-239. Brad Quiri, a freshman from East Lake, is another regular on the team.

Florida, the 2001 NCAA champion, won the tournament behind the 1-2 finish of Camilo Villegas (207) and Bubba Dickerson (208).

In the Chattanooga Invitational, Oct. 15-16, two-time Times Player of the Year Kyle Christman (Seminole High) led Winthrop (S.C.) in scoring with a 73-76-72-221 at the par-71 Signal Mountain (Tenn.) Country Club course.

Countryside High graduate Amanda Dick tied with Tampa freshman Whitney Code for Florida on Oct. 12-14 at the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championship in Knoxville, Tenn.

Dick carded rounds of 79-75-81, and Code shot 82, 2-under 70 and 83 for 235. They tied for 34th in the 14-school match won by Purdue.

Jenny Gleason (Clearwater High), a junior at UNC-Greensboro, has the team's low average this fall.

JUNIORS: Brett Blondell of Lakeland won the Greater Tampa Juniors Tournament, boys 16-18, at Saddlebrook on Oct. 19 with a 1-under 71.

Blondell has orally committed to Florida Southern.

Troy Sidabras of Largo finished second in the 14-15 division with a 78.

Courtney Harter of Clearwater shot 79 to take second in girls 16-18, one stroke behind Heather Burgner of Lakeland. And in girls 9-10, Dakoda Dowd placed second (37) and Alexis Harter (42) third. Both are from Clearwater.

Lee McCoy of Dunedin won the boys 6-8 GTJGA match at Lakeland's Big Cypress par-3 course from advanced tees with a 9-hole score of 33 in a field of 11.

Justin Crist of Clearwater was the runner-up with a 38.

COMING UP: The 25th annual County Golf Association Championship will be played 1 p.m. Sunday and Monday at Fox Hollow in New Port Richey.

John Cerutti, the former pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays and Detroit Tigers, is the defending champion.

"I'm hitting the ball okay, but I'm not putting very well; too many three-putt greens," said Cerutti, 41, a lefty who lives at East Lake Woodlands.

"It's just a mental thing I have to work through," he said. "I'm looking forward to the competition and playing at Fox Hollow. It's a beautifully designed course with undulating greens."

Among the low handicap players competing are: Mark Thomas, John King, Dewayne Halley, Kevin Dyer, Tim DeLeon, Dennis Deja and Danny Allen, a 2001 graduate of Tarpon Springs High and 2000 Times All-Suncoast first-teamer.

Wayne Smith of Tampa will defend the senior title. Dunedin's Wayne Mateer, the runner-up in 1999 and 2000, will compete, as will Tommy Roe and Dave Derrick.

There are a few openings. For information, call Ray Goodman, 530-7226.

Pasadena Country Club will have its Scholarship Tournament at 1 p.m. Thursday.

It is co-sponsored by the St. Petersburg College Hospitality Program and the Pinellas County Hotel and Motel Association.

For information or to enter, call 464-7200.

At 11 a.m. on Nov. 8, the Clearwater Christian College Classic will be held at Walden Lake Country Club in Plant City. It's a benefit for the school's scholarship fund. For information, call Elvin Knight, 726-1153, Ext. 214.

The Rotary Club of Dunedin's seventh annual fund-raiser tournament is scheduled for 8 a.m. Nov. 10 at Dunedin Country Club. It's a four-person scramble. Players may form their own groups or be paired.

For information, call John Wylde, 736-8O45.

Paul Azinger, a member of the U.S. Ryder Cup team that will play next year, will compete in the 24th annual Chi Chi and The Zinger tournament at the Chi Chi course in Clearwater on Nov. 12.

Other headliners include Chi Chi Rodriguez, the founder of the foundation for at-risk children that bears his name, Marlene Hagge, co-founder of the LPGA, Jesse Patino of the Senior PGA Tour and actor Ed Marinaro, most notably of Hill Street Blues.

Some openings remain for the 7:55 a.m. start in the handicap scramble tournament.

For details, call tournament director Carol DiLandro, 726-8829, Ext. 219.

The Tampa Bay Amateur will be played Dec. 1-2 at Bardmoor.

A different date was listed in last week's column.

STREAKS ANSWER: No, at least not unsuccessfully.

Heavyweight boxing champion Rocky Marciano won 49 consecutive fights before retiring undefeated after his 1955 knockout of Archie Moore at Yankee Stadium.

PGA TOUR: Feather Sound's Greg Kraft finished tied for 23rd Sunday in the Buick Challenge, winning $27,965 to increase his 2001 earnings to $499,045 and remain 101st on the money list.

There's one full-field event remaining, this weekend's Southern Farm Bureau Classic in Madison, Miss.

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