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    Perry overcomes stroke of bad luck

    By DAVE THEALL
    © St. Petersburg Times,
    published December 11, 2001

    Resilience: an ability to recover from or adjust easily from misfortune or change -- Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary.

    It was just that, resilience, that Dunedin's Robin Perry had to find as the wheels started coming off during the closing holes in last week's Tampa Bay Amateur Championship at Bardmoor Golf Club.

    After shooting an opening round of 2-over 74, Perry started the second round in a tie with Toronto's Peter Torry and Michael Puffer of St. Petersburg.

    Perry was 1-under as he approached the 15th tee, a par-4 measuring 434 yards, and was coasting in for the victory.

    "I proceeded to bogey 15, 16 and 18 for another 74, forcing a playoff with Torry," Perry said. "I hadn't been into a lot of trouble to that point, but then I started leaking some serious oil."

    That's where the resilence came into play.

    Both parred the par-4 first hole, then bogeyed the par-4 second and par-3 third. They parred the par-4 fourth.

    On the final hole, the 174-yard fifth, Perry hit to the fringe and chipped from 20 feet to 6 inches. Torry's par putt barely lipped out, giving Perry the hard-earned title.

    "The win does a lot for my confidence," said the 1981 Dunedin High School graduate and former St. Petersburg Junior College player. "I'm proud of the way I finished, especially considering I only play on weekends."

    Tampa's Ron Martin (76-74) and Brooksville's Todd Jeffcoat (78-72) tied for third with 6-over 150.

    Mary Critchfield of the Bayou Club captured the women's title, 80-83-163, in a field of only three players.

    There were 90 men in the inaugural event. Bardmoor director of golf Tom West said he's committed to developing the tournament into a major local event.

    TBAC NOTE: Perry, an accountant with Price, Waterhouse and Cooper in Tampa, said the course was "in absolutely perfect shape. I plan to go back and play there again later this month."

    The course was closed May-Thanksgiving as it underwent major renovations designed by noted PGA Tour veteran Gary Koch of Tampa.

    SKIP ALEXANDER PRO-AM: Host assistant pro Bill Buttner recorded a par 72 at St. Petersburg Country Club last week, tying with Paul Coe of Wentworth and Jim Smith of Missing Links Range.

    A week earlier, Buttner, a former PGA Tour regular, set a record of 6-under 66 at his home course.

    Kevin Kenny and Joe Rassett were a stroke back at 73. Kenny, the head pro at Cheval, guided his pro-am team to the title with a score of 129. The squad included Rich Riggins, David Smiles and Chris Frost.

    Buddy Alexander, the coach of the 2001 NCAA champion Florida Gators men's team, came down from Gainesville to play in the tournament named after his late father.

    MEN'S INTERCLUB: Cypress Run shot 10-under to win the Nov. 29 match at Seminole Lake Country Club.

    Paul Newman and Roger Chisholm led the team with a better-ball 12-under 60 with handicaps. They tied with John Filipiak and Mike Gingrich of the host club, three strokes behind Crescent Oaks' pace-setting Will Gable and John Ciccia.

    Lew Smither, director of instruction at the Troon Golf Institute at Innisbrook, crafted a 3-under 69 to spark the 12 pros.

    "It could have been a 63," Smither said, "but I missed a lot of opportunities taking 32 putts."

    Steve Segesman of East Lake Woodlands shot 73. Steve Bagley (74) of Cove Cay and John Falcone (77) of Dunedin finished third and fourth, respectively.

    There was no need to measure for the closest-to-the-pin award on the par-3 No. 7 hole. Jerry Hubbell of Belleview Biltmore aced it.

    CLUB CHAMPION: At Pasadena, Kyle McCarthy defended his club championship title with a 4 and 3 win over Ryan Cockman in the 36-hole match-play final.

    McCarthy was the 2000 Sunshine State Conference Freshman of the Year playing for Eckerd College. Cockman has won the past three St. Petersburg City crowns.

    MINI TOUR: Orlando's Matt Borchert recorded 69-66-70 for an 11-under 205, winning the Seminole-based Liberty Tour's championship, Nov. 26-28 in Davenport. The victory was worth $15,000.

    Borchert and runner-up Ken MacDonald of Palm Beach Gardens reached the second stage of PGA Q-School this year, along with 17 other former Liberty and Moonlight Tour veterans.

    WEST COAST WOMEN: Mary Ann Petrillo of Tierra Verde shot a 1-under 71 at Walden Lake in Plant City to win the WCWGA match.

    She had a 31 on the back nine and finished with six birdies.

    JUNIORS: In the Dec. 1-2 FJGA Christmas Classic in Daytona Beach, Tyler Clippard of Palm Harbor was the top Pinellas finisher with rounds of 77-73-150 for a 14th-place tie.

    Dunedin's Tim Sullivan carded a 154, and Jason Elliott of Palm Harbor had a 169.

    In the girls division, Clearwater Central Catholic teammates Jessie Daniels (87-93-180) and Lara Smilnak (94-102-196) finished off the pace set by Kelly Froelich (76-71-147) of France.

    TAP-INS: The Clearwater-based Seniors Golf Association presented its most improved player award to Jim Harding of Palm Harbor.

    Dunedin Country Club will have its sixth annual Christmas Party for "special kids" Monday.

    Each child, from a list of 71 provided by Dunedin's Leisure Services Department, will receive a gift worth about $40. Plus, a gift certificate for $40 to Publix will be given to an accompanying family member.

    Funds for the party were donated by various organizations of the club and individual members.

    The County Golf Association plays at Seminole Lake on Thursday, with starting times at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.

    For sign-up information, call Ray or Jayne Goodman, 530-7226.

    Palm Harbor's Bob Heintz shot 19-under in six grueling rounds in the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament, which ended Dec. 3.

    He's fully exempt for the 2002 tour.

    "Bob's a great putter," said Gary Koch, a six-time tour winner. "I'm confident he'll do well this time."

    Heintz played fully exempt on the 2000 tour.

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