Golf: St. Petersburg junior's first win comes with drama

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Mon. October 3, 2011 | Bryan Burns

ST. PETERSBURG — Jake Kevorkian, a junior at St. Petersburg High, had never won an 18-hole high school tournament entering Monday’s Vinoy Classic at the Vinoy Club.

So when Kevorkian and Palm Harbor University’s Dustin Dingus finished tied atop the leaderboard after both fired 2-under-par 69 through 18 holes, Kevorkian could be excused for feeling a little nervous as he prepared for an extra-hole playoff.

The setting sun shined brightly on the horizon, directly into the eyes of both golfers as they stood on the tee box of the first playoff hole. A crowd of players and coaches watched intently.

With all eyes on him, Kevorkian sent his tee shot down the fairway, approached to within 30 feet and two-putted his way to his first victory.

His team was just as successful. Backed by Kevorkian’s 69 and 1-under 70 from freshman Blake Dyer, the Green Devils white squad won its second major tournament in row, capturing the Vinoy title by nine strokes with a team score of 292.

“There was a lot of pressure in the playoff,” Kevorkian said. “I hit a decent tee shot, and an okay second shot.”

Kevorkian needed only a solid couple of shots to capture the playoff. Dingus sent his drive into the bunker and dumped his approach into a water hazard. Kevorkian made par on the playoff hole.

“I was pretty nervous,” said Kevorkian, who finished second in two straight 18-hole tournaments entering the Vinoy Classic.

St. Petersburg won its second straight 18-hole tournament Monday. The Green Devils were victorious at Thursday’s Mustang Invitational at Seminole Lake and continued their dominance at the Vinoy. Dyer, at 1-under 70, was third overall.

“He’s been playing very well,” Kevorkian said. “He’s been big for us this year.”

Jack Maguire shot 75 and Shane Crutchfield, one of the area’s top girls golfers, rounded out the scoring with 78.

“Our team is doing outstanding,” Kevorkian said. “We’ve got a lot of kids that can break 80. Even our second team is pretty good.”

St. Petersburg edged Jesuit, which was second with a team score of 301. Chet Ghioto led the Tigers after coming into the clubhouse at 1-over 72.

Palm Harbor University, paced by Dingus’ 69 and rounds of 77 from Brent Hajian and Colby Norris, was third at 305.

Northeast’s Kyle Kubala placed fourth overall at even-par 71. Teammate Ryan Mosley tied Ghioto at 72, then won a one-hole playoff over Ghioto for fifth place after birdieing the extra hole.

Northeast (317) placed fourth, and Countryside (325) was fifth.

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