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    Perry overcomes incident for Heritage Harbor victory

    By DAVE THEALL

    © St. Petersburg Times, published December 5, 2000


    Resilience is one word to describe the ability to bounce back from adversity.

    Resilience to Steve Perry, winner of last week's County Golf Association match at Heritage Harbor, is the difference between success and failure at the game he loves.

    Perry, 42, crafted a round of par 72 in a field of 105 at the Lutz course to capture first-place honors.

    But the win didn't come easy after Perry and his playing partners got rattled by a long-hitting player in the foursome behind them.

    "We were putting on the par-4 11th, a 300-yard hole, when this guy flew his tee shot right onto the green," Perry said. "When he came up, I said to him, "What are you doing?'

    "He said he was sorry, but someone in our group said that he had already hit close to us on the previous hole," Perry said. "That was irresponsible on his part."

    The downside of the incident was that Perry, somewhat shaken, proceeded to bogey his next three holes.

    "At that point I just said to myself "That's it, forget about it, let's play golf.' "

    Having started his round on No. 5, Perry proceeded to play the last 8 holes 3-under to get back to even.

    That's resilience.

    Perry said once a player has his swing down, the most important part of the game is mental. And that often amounts to the ability to come back from near disasters.

    "I've played with friends of mine who have ruined their rounds because of one bad shot," Perry said.

    "You've got to remember that it's one shot at a time. Never think about what happened or what might happen, just execute what's in front of you, never quit."

    Perry practiced what he preaches.

    In another recent match, he triple bogeyed his first hole and double bogeyed No. 2. Yet he settled down and managed to get back to even par by the time he finished his 18th hole by making six birdies and an eagle.

    Playing frequently in CGA matches, Perry is nearing his lifelong ambition of playing professionally on tour.

    "As my handicap has gotten down to zero, my urge to play on either the TearDrop Tour or Golden Bear has gotten stronger," said Perry, a publisher by profession. "And the CGA format is an excellent avenue.

    "It's laid back but still meaningful with its tournament format and conditions," he said. "We play by the rules."

    Wayne Mateer of Dunedin won the senior division in the Heritage Harbor tournament with a 77, making birdies on Holes 3, 7 and 15.

    "The birdie on 15 was the most satisfying," said Mateer, a former club pro at Dunedin Country Club. "That's a narrow dogleg left, and it was into the wind.

    "I hit a driver then a 5-iron to within 6 feet for the putt.

    "That was my third individual win this year," Mateer said, "and I've won three or four team matches as well this year, including a recent better-ball win with Claude Johnson of Clearwater."

    NOTE: Mateer is a former professional and head pro at Dunedin Country Club.

    He played his college golf at the University of Southern Mississippi, and he is an agent for Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company.

    The CGA has an individual match scheduled for Fox Hollow in New Port Richey on Thursday with starting times at 8 and 1 p.m.

    For registration information, call the CGA office in Clearwater, 530-7226.

    The group returns to Pinellas on Dec. 14 for a match at Seminole Lake Country Club.

    The CGA's director, Ray Goodman, is a former PGA Tour player who frequently plays along with various foursomes in the weekly matches.

    SKIP ALEXANDER PRO-AM: At St. Petersburg Country Club, formerly Lakewood where Skip Alexander served as head pro for 32 years, Joey Rassett of Black Diamond Ranch shot a 3-under 69 to win the tournament on Nov. 27.

    The winning team, however, was headed by Alexander's son, Buddy, the men's golf coach at Florida.

    His teammates were Phil Powell, Phil Apple and Dave Stauffer, who shot 128. That was one stroke better than Wentworth's Paul Coe and partners Jack Gleason, Lloyd Marvin and Ron Laesig.

    A three-way tie for third grouped Tommy Bolt, the 1958 U.S. Open Champion, along with Jack Zoomer, George Palmer and Vince Devine; Clearwater Executive pro Greg McClimans, Jerry Huston, Mike Beleskey and Mark Stahle; and former UF All-American Dan Stone, Joe Roberts, Bob Kaleel and Charles Goldson.

    They shot 131.

    Bolt, who beat Gary Player by four strokes at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Okla., to win the 1958 Open, shot 73 on his own ball at the pro-am -- 11 strokes under his age of 84.

    He lives at Black Diamond Ranch in Lecanto.

    Q-SCHOOL: Jay Overton, the host pro at Troon Golf Institute at Westin Innisbrook Resort, shot rounds of 71-77 for a 148 to miss the 36-hole cut of 144 in last week's Senior Tour qualifying tournament at MetroWest in Orlando.

    Ruyji Imada, who played high school golf at Chamberlain and collegiately for NCAA champion Georgia, was tied for 19th in the PGA Tour Q-School in La Quinta, Calif., entering Monday's final round.

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