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Assistant pro makes big splash

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Andrew Hodge was having one of those days. Not one of those days most regular golfers might have, a few birdies or a few long drives. One of those days scratch golfers might have, tons of birdies, all long drives and even a hole-in-one.

Hodge was playing in the Pinellas County Interclub Association's season-ending tournament at Belleair Country Club's West Course on June 2. He was playing for East Lake Woodlands CC, where he is an assistant professional. Hodge, 23, was playing in the professional division of the tournament against some of the best club pros in the area.

He blew away the field.

Hodge shot a bogey-free 64, one shot off the course record, and won the individual championship by seven. Belleair Country Club won the team championship. Not only did he make seven birdies, he aced the 202-yard par-3 eighth hole with a 6-iron. It was his third ace in nine Interclub tournaments this season.

"I had complete control of the game that day,'' Hodge said. "I was hitting it well, hitting it close and making a few putts.''

Hodge, originally from Hebron, Ky., has been at East Lake Woodlands for nine months. He is a 2010 graduate of Queens University in Charlotte, N.C., where he was on the golf team. His job at East Lake is his first as a professional, and when he's not working he's probably playing in a tournament.

Hodge recently teamed with Clearwater's Kyaw Htet to win a two-man tournament in Hammock Beach near Jacksonville. He attempted to qualify for the U.S. Open in a sectional tournament at Innisbrook, but missed by two shots.

Hodge is just starting his professional journey, and he hopes it ends on the PGA Tour. Until then, he's just glad to have a job in golf.

"My whole goal is to make a living playing golf,'' Hodge said. "Ultimately, everyone wants to be on the PGA Tour and that would be phenomenal. But just to make a living playing golf is really awesome.''

More golf

Matthew Ruel, 13, of Oldsmar shot 75-76 to win his age bracket at the Premier Junior Golf Tournament at Highland Reserve in Davenport. He earned a four-shot victory in the 13-19 age group.

• The County Golf Association held a better ball tournament at St. Petersburg Country Club on June 6. The regular division gross winners were Ken Palladino and Fred See, who shot 68. The senior division gross winners were Jim Barrie and John Reeves, who shot 71. The overall net winners were Dan Barbaro and Richard Evans, who shot 59.

There was also an individual tournament June 2 at Mangrove Bay Golf Course. The regular division gross winners were Tom Parsley and Brent Shaw, who shot 75s. The regular division net winner was Mike Zehnder, who shot 66. The senior division gross winner was Jim Barrie who shot 76. The senior division net winner was Jack Pace, who shot 65. The ladies net winner was Mary Winstead, who shot 72.

Tennis

The St. Petersburg Tennis Center's Junior Local Open was held on June 4-6. The boys 18 singles winner was Gavin White. The 16 winner was Ganesh Rajaram, the 12 winner was Isaac Dieter and the 10 winner was Christopher Reilly. The girls 18 winner was Alexandra Kitchen, the 16 winner was Kyla Nuesa, the 14 winner was Shannon Wagner and the 10 winner was Amina Dzebo.

Soccer

The Soccer Six Florida's Sun Til Moon adult soccer tournament will be held June 24-26 at the Lakewood Soccer Complex. There are men's women's, coed and men's 30-plus divisions for the tournament. For information, go to soccersixflorida.com.

Assistant pro makes big splash 06/11/11 [Last modified: Saturday, June 11, 2011 5:30am]

    

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