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Bardmoor Golf Club reopened in grand style Friday.
The popular mid-county course in Largo had been closed since May 14 for major renovations.
Course designer and NBC-TV analyst Gary Koch revamped the Bardmoor layout, which is the former home of the PGA/LPGA JCPenney Classic.
The goal of the renovations, said Bardmoor director of golf Tom West, was to make it more player-friendly while offering a strategic challenge to golfers of all levels.
The $2 million improvements include Tifeagle Bermuda grass to create faster and truer putting surfaces, enlarged landing areas surrounding green complexes, and extensive bunker reconstruction. The course has a new irrigation system and enhanced landscaping.
"What we're striving for is for each golfer to have a great golf experience," said West, who has been at the club 17 years. "Actually, we made the course about four strokes easier. And the positive comments we heard after Friday's reopening bear that out.
"Players said the greens are the best they've played on in the state of Florida and they were anxious to make reservations to play here again," West said.
Players are getting around the course a lot faster too, West said. Bardmoor has spaced starting times from the seven-eight-minute range to nine minutes.
"Management's goal is to have 45,000 to 48,000 rounds played in 2002," West said. "That's down from 54,000 rounds last year. "That's realistic considering our rate structure is a little higher, but we trust players will find the golf experience worth it. ... Crown Golf Properties, which owns this facility, wants to make the commitment to have the best facility around."
West's support team is strong.
He just brought in Adam Stuck from Mangrove Bay to serve as head pro. Stuck is a former Northeast High School player and director of the Pinellas County Junior Golf Association.
Lanier Waters, a product of Largo High and USF, is an assistant pro. Scott Robertson is the head teaching pro, and the course superintendent is Roger Jones.
NOTE: Bardmoor will play host to the Tampa Bay Amateur Championship on Saturday and Sunday.
For information, call the pro shop, 392-1234.
JUNIORS: One of West's star pupils is coming off a successful season.
Brittany Lincicome of Seminole not only qualified for an invitation to last week's AJGA Polo Classic at Walt Disney World, she made the top-16 cut for match play with a 36-hole total of 3-under 141.
Then Lincicome won her opening match over nationally-ranked Erin Andrews of Las Vegas.
Lincicome lost her next match to Nicole Hage of Coral Springs. Hage advanced to the final, in which she lost 5 and 4 to Bradenton's Aree Wongluekiet. Wongluekiet's twin sister, Naree, won the tournament two years ago.
Lincicome captured her high school district's title with a course-record 6-under 66 at Clearwater Country Club, won her regional tournament and finished in a sixth-place tie for sixth at state with a 1-over 145.
She was named to the AJGA's 10-member Canon Cup East team, which played a squad representing the western states this summer.
West worked on putting with Lincicome before the Polo Tournament. She decided to go back to a putter she had used last year to help with her alignment.
"She's phenomenal," West said. "She can hit the ball routinely 300 yards. I haven't seen a woman do that since Laura Davies was here playing in the JCPenney Classic.
"Brittany can not only play, she's a well-rounded person. She has a future in golf."
Tim Sullivan, a Palm Harbor University senior, tied for fourth in the Nov. 17-18 Florida Junior Golf Association Tournament at Citrus Spring.
He shot 77-80 for a 157. High school teammate Jason Elliott tied for 13 with a 162, followed by Dunedin's Patrick Scranton (168). Seminole's Jessie Daniels, who played for Clearwater Catholic, finished 11th among girls with a 96-97-193.
Dan Harari of Palm Harbor was the top Pinellas boy in the 12-14 division, placing third with a 80-86-166.
COLLEGES: Largo's Courtney Burdick, a sophomore at Florida International, helped her team finish second among 11 squads in the Nov. 12-13 FIU/Pat Bradley Invitational in Miami.
Burdick shot 83-79-81-243, placing fourth on her team.
Earlier this month, Clearwater's Jenny Gleason, a former Times Player of the Year, led UNC-Greensboro to a sixth-place finish in the Palmetto International at Kiawah Island, S.C.
She shot 78-73-76-227 for ninth overall among 90 players.
MINI TOUR: St. Petersburg High graduate Dan Stone finished third ($77,811) on the Golden Bear Tour this year.
The former Florida All-American won twice.
COMING UP: The Pinellas Men's Interclub will meet at Seminole Lake noon Thursday.
For information, call Bob Detlor, 343-0578.
The County Golf Association meets at East Lake Woodlands' North course Monday at 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., and at Innisbrook's Highlands South course Dec. 6 at 8 a.m.
Call 530-7226 for sign-up information.