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Hillsborough golf: These Raiders also can go long

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Wed. October 5, 2011 | Joey Knight | Email

Hillsborough golf: These Raiders also can go long

Four hours before Plant City's football team faces Durant in a hyped district duel Thursday evening, another undefeated Raiders squad will tee it up in a similarly intense showdown.

Question is, who will go deep with the most success, Bennie Coney or Belinda George?

The Raiders girls golf team, winner of 20 consecutive matches, puts its streak on the line at Walden Lakes against local juggernaut Plant (7-3). Match time is 3 p.m.

"It's pretty exciting; the girls are talking about (Thursday)," said coach Meg Jordan, a 1985 Plant City alumnus who shattered a number of school records as Meg Cimino. "We get to see what's up (against Plant)."

If you're looking for a bona fide local state title contender, look no farther than Jordan's roster.

From savvy seniors to fledgling freshmen, depth abounds. The team's top four scorers at last season's Class 2A tournament -- George, Kellyanne Hurst, Kelsey Jensen and Shelby Johnson -- are still around.

Jensen, a senior, shot a 34 in a recent match at Rogers Park, one shot shy of Jordan's school record for nine holes. George, a University of North Florida commitment, shot a 31 in a practice. Hurst was the top scorer at state (two-day 172, tied for 33rd) last season, when Plant City finished as Region 4 runner-up.

Toss in sophomore Brooke Wyatt and freshman Lindsey Box, and Jordan has no fewer than five players capable of eclipsing 40 on a given afternoon.

Jordan hopes that afternoon is Thursday -- the final home match for Jensen, George and Johnson.

"It would be a neat way to end," Jordan said. "I don't want to put the cart before the horse because we have to beat Plant first. We've still got a lot to do as far as districts and regionals go."

Could this Lion grow into a Tiger? Fittingly, the easiest guy in the Class 2A, District 9 field to overlook -- 5-foot-4 King freshman Ajani Liggins -- shapes up as a prime darkhorse contender for the tournament title.

Liggins (pictured), who shot a 2-over-par 38 in a tri-match with Jesuit and Tampa Catholic on Tuesday, possesses the consistency to win it all, much like teammate Tyler Weed did last season.

Last weekend, Liggins shot a 36-hole score of 13-over 157 to win the 13-14 age division of a Hurricane Junior Golf Tour event at Emerald Greens. The 2A-9 tournament will be held Oct. 18 at Temple Terrace -- the Lions' home course.

Odds and ends: Jesuit had five golfers eclipse 80 in its second-place finish Monday at the Vinoy Classic in St. Petersburg. The total would've been six had Joseph Trim not called a penalty on himself, Coach George LaPenna said. ... In the 15-19 age division of the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour (HJGT) event at Emerald Greens, Freedom's Jimmy Jones prevailed with a two-day, 5-over 149. Academy of the Holy Names sophomore Emmy Martin won the girls 14-18 title with a 10-over 154.

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