Who won the first-ever Donald Ross Memorial Invitational boys individual title?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Area players miss on U.S. Amateur qualifying

No area players advanced from the four Florida qualifying sites for entry into this year's United States Amateur, which took place across the state in the past week.

Chris Kennedy
came the closest.

The Cardinal Mooney alum and Lakewood Ranch resident fired a final round 71, but his first-round 75 left him with a 146 total and two shots out of the final qualifying berth.

Kennedy played his qualifier at Cypress Run Golf Club in Tarpon Springs, and only two berths were up for grabs. Players finishing at 145 had a playoff for the first and second alternate spots.

The U.S. Amateur has sort of called Bradenton home the past two years, as Ben An and Peter Uihlein once lived here.

An won the title in 2009 and Uihlein triumphed in 2010.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dan Stone sets another course record in WFGT victory

Logo provided by the WFGT

Dan Stone
returned to the West Florida Golf Tour in fine fashion, with a six-shot victory in the Tire Kingdom two-day tournament held at Laurel Oak Country Club's West Course in Sarasota.

Stone, of St. Petersburg, played last week on the eGolf Professional Tour's Scratch Golf Championship in Aiken, S.C.

Stone ballooned to a 77 in the final round up north to slip from contention.

However, he righted the ship back in the Sunshine State with an opening round 69 on Monday.

Keeping himself just one shot out of the lead entering Tuesday, Stone blitzed the Rees Jones redesigned West Course with a stunning 64.

The round set a new course record, breaking the previous mark that Director of Golf Matt Auen and Cardinal Mooney alum Chris Kennedy shared at 66.

It's the second area course record Stone has broken en route to a WFGT title.

Stone fired a 62 to best former major champion Paul Azinger's record on Lakewood Ranch Golf & Country Club's Royal Lakes layout back in March.

That was another multi-day event.

To read more about Stone's triumph, check out Thursday's edition of the Bradenton Herald.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Poll: Tiger Woods fires Steve Williams

Rather than recapping Wednesday's news that Tiger Woods has severed his long working relationship with caddie Steve Williams, I figured I'd put another poll together.

So check it out on the right side of the blog.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bernardo Curbelo atop AJGA leaderboard

Bradenton's Bernardo Curbelo rose to the top of the boys leaderboard at the AJGA Under Armour/Steve Marino Junior All-Star Championship on Wednesday.

Curbelo fired a 2-under par 70 for a 139 total through 36 holes of the 54-hole event that wraps up Thursday at the Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club.

He is tied for first with two other players, including first-round leader Ryan Celano, of Naples.

Lakewood Ranch High rising sophomore Danny Walker, who claimed a state title last year for Manatee County's first boys title from a public school since the 1930s, shot 72 and is tied for 24th at 149.

Other Bradenton players in the top 30 include Jin Zhang (tied for 10th, 145 total) and Daniel Jaramillo (tied for 16th, 146 total).

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bernardo Curbelo in hunt after AJGA first round

Bradenton's Bernardo Curbelo, who hails from Venezuela, fired a 3-under par 69 to sit one shot behind Ryan Celano, of Naples, after the AJGA's Under Armour/Steve Marino Junior All-Star Championship opening round at the Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club in Lakewood Ranch.

Curbelo leads the area contingent playing at home in this week's AJGA event for boys and girls ages 12-15.

Other notable Bradenton juniors stand as follows: Jin Zhang (tied for 12th, even-par 72); Daniel Jaramillo (tied for 22nd, 2-over par 74); Charles Wang (tied for 27th, 3-over par 75); Danny Walker (tied for 39th, 5-over par 77) and Jack Tianyi Cen (tied for 52nd, 8-over par 80).

Walker won a high school individual state title last year as a freshman on Lakewood Ranch's powerful team.

Of note from the first day, Monday's National Qualifier winner Jordan Batchelor is in the top 20 after a first-round 73.

On the girls side, Bradenton's Phoebe Zhao is six shots behind leader Katharine Patrick following a 74.

The tournament continues Wednesday and concludes Thursday.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Monday Recap: The Open and more

So yours truly made a prediction last Thursday that Rory McIlroy would further cement his place in the golf pantheon with another major triumph at the British Open.


Well, at least I got half of it right - the winner was from Northern Ireland.

Darren Clarke's victory was one for the older guys (ages 40 and up) and one for the genuine good guys (his wife lost her battle with cancer a mere five years ago).

And golf hasn't just shifted completely to Europe, it has made Northern Ireland its capital.

But the real winner in all of this is somebody different.

To find out, check out my column in Thursday's edition of the Bradenton Herald.

Until then, here's a quick hit on the weekend action in-state:

  • Bradenton's Nathan Bertsch finished with a 2-over par 218 total in the three-day, 54-hole Florida Open. However, Bertsch could only tie for 24th in the tournament held at Lecanto's Black Diamond Ranch. Bertsch was the only Bradenton player to make the 36-hole cut in the 65th edition of the annual event pitting amateurs and club pros against one another. Port Orange's Rod Perry collected the $12,000 first-place prize after a playoff victory over Alan Morin, of Royal Palm Beach, when both turned in 206 totals.
  • The 105th Southern Amateur Championship didn't see any area players crack the top 10. Emiliano Grillo, an IMG Academies student, had the highest finish following a 2-under par 282 total in the 72-hole tournament held at the famed Copperhead Course at the Innisbrook Resort. Cardinal Mooney alum Chris Kennedy, a Lakewood Ranch resident, tied for 29th with a 4-over par 288 total. University of Washington rising sophomore and IMG alum Cheng-Tsung Pan tied for 18th at 284.
  • Only seven berths were awarded in the U.S. Women's Amateur qualifier held at the Wanderer's Club in Wellington last Friday. None were given out to Manatee County players. IMG alum and University of Florida star Mia Piccio recently competed in a West Florida Golf Tour event as a tune-up for Friday's qualifier. She netted herself a playoff for the final berth, but came up short. Piccio shot 72 to get into the sudden-death playoff. Several other players also came up short in their bid for qualifying. Check out Thursday's edition of the Bradenton Herald for the listing.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pan falls back; Grillo and Kennedy charge at Southern Amateur

Cheng-Tsung Pan shot his second consecutive 73 to fall seven shots off the lead at the 105th Southern Amateur on Friday.

The IMG alum and University of Washington rising sophomore had a share of the first-round lead following a 67 on the famed par-71 Copperhead Course at Palm Harbor's Innisbrook Resort.

While Pan slipped into a tie for 14th, Emiliano Grillo and Chris Kennedy improved on their first two rounds.

Grillo fired a 3-under par 68 in the third round. Kennedy, a Cardinal Mooney alum and Lakewood Ranch resident, posted a 70.

Grillo attends IMG Academies just like Nick Torrance.

Unlike Grillo, however, Torrance backed up on day three. So did Ben An, the 2009 U.S. Amateur champ.

Both players sit near the bottom of the pack following a 78 and 75, respectively.

Peter Uihlein makes first cut in a major

Former IMG standout Peter Uihlein made his first cut in a major after completing his second round at the British Open on Friday.

The reigning United States Amateur champion missed the cut in the Masters and U.S. Open earlier this year.

Uihlein is a rising senior at Oklahoma State University and turned in his second straight 71 on the par-70 Royal St. George's layout in Sandwich, England.

Uihlein is tied for 45th. The top 71 players advanced to the weekend portion of the 72-hole tournament.

Fellow IMG alum Sean O'Hair did not make the cut.

O'Hair improved on his opening-round 73 with a second-round 71, but missed by one shot after the cut was made at 3-over par.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Peter Uihlein set to begin British Open

Peter Uihlein during last summer's U.S. Amateur triumph. Photo courtesy of McClatchy-Tribune News Service.

If you're waking up in a few hours to catch the British Open live, you can watch former IMG standout Peter Uihlein at Royal St. George's in Thursday's opening round.

Uihlein is playing this week, because he captured last year's U.S. Amateur which earned the Oklahoma State rising senior exemptions into both U.S. and British opens as well as an invitation into the Masters.

Uihlein tees off No. 10 alongside Geoff Ogilvy and Miguel Angel Jimenez at 8:09 a.m. (local time).

That's about 3 a.m. here in Florida. Television coverage is scheduled to start at 4 a.m. on ESPN.

Check back here for tabs on how the local lad fares in his third major of 2011.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Chris Kennedy qualifies for Southern Amateur

Chris Kennedy hits a shot during a recent West Florida Golf Tour event. Photo by Tiffany Tompkins-Condie/Bradenton Herald.

Lakewood Ranch resident Chris Kennedy's red-hot form is still intact.

The Cardinal Mooney alum, who is wrapping up an internship at Laurel Oak Country Club in Sarasota to complete his degree requirements at the University of North Florida, made it through the on-site qualifier on Monday at Innisbrook's famed Copperhead Course for a berth into the 105th Southern Amateur.

The tournament kicks off Wednesday and several Manatee County players are in the field, including 2009 U.S. Amateur champ Ben An and University of Florida departing senior Bank Vongvanij.

Kennedy qualified after firing a 1-over par 72.

The two-time City of Sarasota Amateur champ said he's had trouble finishing rounds off in today's edition of the Bradenton Herald.

But after a bogey on No. 10, Kennedy parred his way into the clubhouse and a spot into Wednesday's first round.

To read more about Kennedy's super summer, check out today's Herald.

Bradenton's Scott Lamb and Nick Torrance got shut out after both carded 2-over par 73s.

That netted both a spot in a 5-for-3 playoff, as only seven spots were awarded from the qualifier.

But, neither progressed.

College notebook: Christina Miller leaves Ole Miss for USF

Bradenton's Christina Miller is returning home.

Well, close to home.

Miller has transferred to the University of South Florida after completing her freshman season at Mississippi.

Miller is enrolled in summer classes at USF, according to a news release, and is one of four transfers to the Bulls golf team for the upcoming campaign.

The former IMG Academies standout won four Future Collegian World Tour events during her prep days. However, she only competed in six tournaments at Ole Miss, compiling a 79.28 stroke average.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Paula Creamer repeat bid on hold at U.S. Women's Open

Paula Creamer at last year's CVS/pharmacy LPGA Challenge. Photo courtesy of McClatchy-Tribune News Service.

Paula Creamer's
United States Women's Open title defense will have to wait.

Well, one more day.

Play was suspended in the U.S. Women's Open at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs with only 25 players finishing their rounds.

Creamer, an IMG Academies alum, and Bradenton's Jessica Korda had yet to tee off when the decision to suspend play for the day became official.

The field boasts several IMG alums, but only Aree Song completed her round - a 3-over par 74.

Jaclyn Sweeney and 17-year-old amateur Victoria Tanco got through 13 holes before play was halted on Thursday.

Sweeney, a regular on the Ladies European Tour, struggled throughout the day on the 7,047-yard par-71 layout.

She's tied for 68th currently at 7-over par. Tanco is a few shots better at 4-over par.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:45 a.m. (local time).

David Leadbetter and Tony Jacklin make Lakewood Ranch Country Club appearance

Two titans of golf made appearances at Lakewood Ranch Country Club on Thursday.

World-renowned teaching instructor David Leadbetter and former two-time major champion Tony Jacklin spent the day watching their sons in the West Florida Golf Tour's event on the Kings Dunes course.

James Leadbetter is still an amateur, while Sean Jacklin turned pro following his freshman year at the University of North Carolina that wrapped up this past spring.

Leadbetter posted a 73, while Jacklin carded a 77.

Neither score was low enough to win. Blake Holbrook defeated amateur Chris Kennedy in a sudden-death playoff after both players shot 2-under par 70 on a difficult scoring day.

Kennedy continues his solid play this summer. After his collegiate career ended this past spring, he returned to the City of Sarasota Men's Amateur for the first time since his triumph there in 2007.

Kennedy captured the prestigious title for the second time in his career, and followed that up with a berth in the U.S. Open's Florida sectional.

He didn't make it through, but did qualify for the Florida State Amateur and Florida Open.

The Lakewood Ranch resident and Cardinal Mooney alum said he'll attempt to qualify for the U.S. Amateur and turn pro following that tournament later this summer.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Gary Player added as Masters honorary starter

If you weren't glued to the all-day cable news blowout of the Casey Anthony trial on Tuesday or you weren't wrapped up in the Tiger Woods announcement that he'll skip the British Open as he recovers from his lingering left leg injury, then you missed Tuesday's other big golf news.

That news being Gary Player is teeing it up at Augusta National once again.

Except this time, the Black Knight will do it alongside Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus as honorary starters for the Masters, golf's first major each year.

Player, who won the Masters three times, will reunite with his "Big Three" contemporaries next year.

Palmer became an honorary starter in 2007, with Nicklaus joining in 2010.

It's one of several traditions held at the Masters.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

West Florida Golf Tour's web site tweaked

Logo provided by the West Florida Golf Tour.

The area's lone mini-tour has a new look to its web site.

The West Florida Golf Tour's altered site gives it a sleek look. It's more compact in nature, with updated tournament results/news appearing in small boxes. That is a change from the longer listings underneath the main picture on the home page.

Also, the Order of Merit is at the bottom and given in three different forms: current period, current season and career.

Before, the WFGT site only had the Order of Merit listed for the given year and overall (career).

Check out the WFGT here.

Tiger Woods skips British Open

Tiger Woods walks toward a press conference during last week's PGA Tour's AT&T National, which is tied to his charity foundation. Photo courtesy of McClatchy-Tribune News Service.

Tiger Woods announced on his web site that he will not play in this year's British Open, slated for July 14-17 at Royal St. George's Golf Club.

The former No. 1 player in the world hasn't teed it up competitively since the Players Championship, dubbed as the fifth major by many, earlier this year.

Woods withdrew from that tournament due to a left leg injury. He also missed the recently completed United States Open, where Rory McIlroy crushed the tournament's scoring record for his maiden major triumph.

Woods said the following on his web site:

"Unfortunately, I've been advised that I should not play in the British Open," Woods said. "As I stated at the AT&T National, I am only going to come back when I'm 100 percent ready. I do not want to risk further injury. That's different for me, but I'm being smarter this time. I'm very disappointed and want to express my regrets to the British Open fans."