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Bucs' rise brings them to state

By MIKE READLING

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 5, 2000


TAMPA -- For years, Jesuit was the class of the county in boys golf.

It seemed like every season would end the same way as the Tigers easily ran to district title after district title, state tournament appearance after state tournament appearance.

Slowly but surely, Berkeley Prep would creep slightly closer to Jesuit, though. The margins of Tigers wins began to shrink, and occasionally, a Buc would pop up on top of the leaderboard. The comeback culminated last year when Berkeley Prep defeated Jesuit in the district tournament by 14 strokes, advancing to state and leaving the Tigers home for the first time in five years.

This season, the Bucs started to pull away.

Not only did Berkeley win districts again, they did it by beating Jesuit by one stroke. The Bucs then turned around and defeated the Tigers in the regional tournament. The margin once again was one stroke.

Throw in the season finale, a tri-match with Jesuit and Plant that Berkeley won after tying Jesuit and then winning a two-hole playoff, and that makes three consecutive victories over the once-unbeatable Tigers.

That rumble you feel when the Bucs are nearby is their confidence reaching epic proportions.

"Any time you win a district and a regional, you're going to be confident no matter who you beat," Berkeley coach Bobby Reinhart said. "We've played second fiddle to Jesuit for so long that beating them just adds to our confidence."

Because the FHSAA changed the rules, the top two teams from each region advance to the state tournament, which is Tuesday and Wednesday. That means not only do the Bucs get to travel to Fort Pierce's Fairwinds Golf Course, they'll be matched up with Jesuit one more time.

"I think this new format is brilliant," Reinhart said. "The field is going to be stronger. Golf is one of those sports that if you don't have it one day, you just don't have it. I'm glad Jesuit will be down there. We play four or five times a year, and they're always great matches."

The Bucs will head to Fort Pierce led by No. 1 golfer Ty Harris. Harris was the medalist in districts and regions and carries a 35.56 stroke average for nine holes. He shot 75 at Innisbrook during the regional tournament despite playing from the tips on a wet course that measured about 7,000 yards.

"He was phenomenal under those circumstances," Reinhart said. "Ty has been steady for us all year long."

Ty Callahan and his 76.5 average for 18 holes will play No. 2 for Berkeley while Mike McDonald, Andrew Turker and Adam Cohen fill out the top five. Those four will be a key in Berkeley's quest to pull off any kind of upset at the state tournament.

"We've had trouble finishing off rounds," Reinhart said, noting his team combined to play 8-over on the final hole in districts and 5-over at regionals.

"If we can get steady over the final couple of holes, we should do all right."

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