Kyle Sutton, 14, really knows how to make friends. He moves from Columbus, Ohio, to St. Petersburg three months ago and his family joins St. Petersburg Country Club. He decides to enter the club championship against players much older and more established.
After three 18-hole matches, Sutton winds up in the 36-hole final against 63-year-old Lee Robinson on March 26. Sutton won the match 3 and 1. Over the last 19 holes, Sutton shot 1 over while playing the course at its longest, nearly 7,000 yards.
He became the youngest club champion in St. Petersburg Country Club history. The 49-year age difference is the largest for a club championship final in the club's history.
Come to Florida in January, make history in March.
"I didn't expect to win it,'' Sutton said. "I didn't even know if I wanted to play in it. But it turned out pretty good, I guess.''
Sutton is an eighth-grader at Canterbury in St. Petersburg. He enrolled too late to join the golf team, but he did play a few games with the basketball team. Sutton plans on playing in junior tournaments during the summer.
Sutton, whose father, Chris, is a doctor, has been playing golf since he was about 3 years old. He said he plays St. Petersburg Country Club as often as he can, mostly with his dad.
His name is now part of the club's 80-plus-year history, which doesn't seem to faze the soft-spoken Sutton.
"It's kind of cool, I guess,'' he said.
In other matches at St. Petersburg Country Club, Bryan Reynolds won the first flight defeating Jim Ina 6 and 5, Tom Sutton battled Charlie Canerday for 19 holes to win the second flight, and Pat Henry won 2 up over Bob Daunais to win the third flight. Brad Suetholz was medalist in the qualifier with 75.
The Clearwater Junior Local Spring Classic was held on March 26-27. The boys 18 singles winner was Derek Crossman, the 16 winner was Jonathan Heidenberg, the 14 winner was Martynas Lukosiunas, the 12 winner was Daniel Moreno and the 10 winner was Roberto Rodriguez. The girls 16 singles winner was M'balia Bangoura, the 14 winner was Lauren Corcoran, the 12 winner was Lauren Adams and the 10 winner was Sanyukta Gawande.
• The East Lake Spring Junior Rookie tournament was held March 26-27 at East Lake Woodlands. The boys 14 singles winner was Gantt Shiflet, the 12 winner was Ben Lafrance and the 10 winner was Samuel Lafrance. The girls 14 singles winner was Katherine Labarta, the 12 winner was Elissa Lisle and the 10 winner was Anslee Long. Also, Josephine Joliff of St. Petersburg advanced to the final of the girls 10 singles and Marie Apudo of St. Petersburg won the consolation final of the girls 12 singles.
• The Super Senior men's league recently wrapped up its season, and three area teams will be going to Daytona Beach to compete in the state sectional championships April 1-3. In the 3.5 flight, Innisbrook will compete in the sectionals, captained by Dick Willets. The 4.0 team from McMullen Tennis Center in Clearwater advanced to sectionals. It is captained by Rick Whissel. And in the 4.5 flight, McMullen Tennis Center also advanced. It is captained by Terry Payton and co-captain Rich Bruer.
Matthew Ruel of Oldsmar placed third in the boys 13-14 age group at the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour tournament at East Lake Woodlands on March 26-27.
• The Women's Golf Association held a tournament at Belleair Country Club on March 22. The winner of the nine-hole tournament was Sharlene Snyder, who shot 45. Second place was Joanne Dean, Kathi Sherman, Sue Keweshan and Ramona Williams, who each shot 50.
The Tampa Bay Turners competed in the USAG Florida State Championships on March 26-27 in Lakeland for Levels 8, 9 and 10. All the gymnasts have qualified to compete at their respective regional championships this month. Level 8 finished in first. Winners were Mimi Gilbert (beam), Gaby Johanek (bars, beam, floor, all-around) and Charity Chen (beam, floor, all-around). Level 9 winners were Kylie Moran (beam) and Chloe Devries (bars, beam, floor). Level 10 finished first overall. Winners were Tiffany Henry (vault, bars, all-around), Christina Pheil (vault, floor, all-around), Shelby Hilton (bars, beam, all-around) and Naomi Devries (vault).
• Victory Gymnastic Training Center participated in the Level 7 Florida State Gymnastics Meet in Coral Springs on March 19-20. The team placed third overall. Winners were Sierra Herb (vault, bars, all-around), Raquel Pullara (vault), Reagan Gunderson (bars, beam), Shannon Fichardt (vault, all-around) and Isabel Platis (vault).
• LaFleur's of Largo competed in the Level 8, 9 and 10 State Meet on March 26-27. Individual winners in Level 8 were Heidi Hepokoski (floor), Gina Pergolizzi (floor) and Stella Sardo (floor). Level 9 winner was Jenna Cashmore (bars) and Level 10 winner was Kaitlin Green (bars, beam, all-around).
Samantha Rayner of Seminole competed in the UF Youth Bowling Championships at the University of Florida on March 26-27. Rayner, competing in the 150 and below average division, made it through two days of qualifying to earn a fourth seed in the final round. She then won all four matches to earn the championship.
The Largo United Soccer Club's U-11 Girls Red team won the March Madness Soccer Shootout held at the Belcher Complex in Largo on March 18-20. In the final, Largo United defeated Gulf Coast United U11 1-0. Members of the team are Rachel Dirks, Alex VanZile, Malerie Sawicki, Jamison Lake, Amanda Johnson, Caroline DeWitt, Sophie Masut, Sydney Burkhalter, Rebecca Scordino and Caryna Smyrski. The coach is Angela Sousa.