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Pinellas schools sweep competition at Crutchfield/Hawkins Invitational

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Mon. September 21, 2009 | Bryan Burns

Calvary Christian and Northside Christian took home team golf titles at the prestigious Crutchfield/Hawkins Invitational in Sebring on Monday.

The Northside Christian girls set a school record by firing 278 to defeat defending Class A state champion American Heritage (294) by 16 strokes at Highlands Ridge North Golf Course. It’s the second time this season the Mustangs have defeated American Heritage after beating the Patriots in a head-to-head match last Monday.

Sisters A.J. and Anna Newell each carded four-under par 68 and finished tied for third overall to highlight an outstanding afternoon for Northside. Michelle Butler was three-under at 69 and Danielle Grace was one-over at 73. Northside was ten under overall.

""The kids played great; they’re just good players," Northside coach D.J. Jackson said. "They’ve improved so much from last year too. Last year we had people shooting, 72, 73, 74 on the same course and we thought those were good scores."

Jackson said there were six teams in the girls field. Indian Rocks Christian’s Ryan Ashburn shot 77.

Calvary Christian prevailed in a playoff with East Lake for the boys title at Deer Run Golf Course, but not without some controversy.

East Lake thought it had won after recording a team score of 289 and seeing the Warriors second at 290, but on the 16th hole putting green, Eagles golfer Logan Hand played two balls after his approach landed on what he claimed to be an aerated hole. The initial ruling was that Hand would be allowed relief, but that decision was later reversed, resulting in one more stroke for Hand, who shot 79.

With both teams finishing at 290, Calvary and East Lake went to a playoff, which Calvary won handily after firing four pars.

"My argument is they accepted the scorecards that had been turned in, then it was changed when we weren’t even there to argue," East Lake coach Terry O’Reilly said. "It just hurts to lose that way."

Calvary’s Lee McCoy and East Lake’s Linzy Clark each shot a three-under 66 to finish 17 holes – the golfers only played 17 holes because the par 3 No. 9 was without a green – tied for first place out of the 100 golfers that participated. McCoy defeated Clark in a playoff to earn medalist honors.

Taylor Hancock shot 68, Aaron Watson 76 and Jake Kevorkian 80 for Calvary, which defeated 18 schools to claim first place. Terry O’Reilly (70) and Sebastian Hilpl (75) filled out East Lake’s round.

Northside Christian shot a team score of 311 and was led by Nick Quintessenza’s 73 and Gus Myers’ 77.

UPDATE: Marty O'Hora, an assistant pro at Sun 'N Lake Golf Club and the official in charge of the ruling in the boys' competition, said that the tournament rules committee made a mistake when it accepted Hand's initial scorecard without first checking the condition of the green in questino.

"The rules committee should have waited and held (Hand's) scorecard until they checked the green," O'Hora said. "When I went out and checked, it was clear it wasn't an aeration hole, that it was just a rough area that the kids had been putting through all day."

O'Hora said he contacted the USGA before making a final determination, and the USGA confirmed his decision to award Hand bogey for the hole rather than par.

"We just wanted to get it right," O'Hora said. 

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