Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Season preview: Pinellas girls golf

Northside has little team competition, so A.J. Newell, left, and Michelle Butler “try to beat our school records,” Butler says.


Northside has little team competition, so A.J. Newell, left, and Michelle Butler “try to beat our school records,” Butler says.

ST. PETERSBURG — What's that saying about it being lonely at the top?

For Northside Christian, it's downright deserted. Once again, the Mustangs enter the season as the undisputed leader in the clubhouse in Pinellas.

Their competition? Well …

"Sometimes you just have to play the golf course," Northside's A.J. Newell said. "And not worry about the opponent."

Or lack thereof.

Only a handful of schools — Countryside, Clearwater, Clearwater Central Catholic, East Lake, Osceola and St. Petersburg— have enough female players to field complete teams. Golfers like Indian Rocks Christian's Ryan Ashburn and Dunedin's Justine Knox have the talent to compete for top honors in the county but are without a complete team.

It seems nobody in Pinellas has the depth to go toe-to-toe with Northside, which finished third in the state (Class A) in 2008 and aspires to win it all this season.

So the Mustangs are forced to find competition within themselves.

"Every time we go out we try to beat our school records," Mustangs junior Michelle Butler said.

Butler owns the Northside record for lowest nine-hole round (33) in school history. Newell holds the nine-hole scoring average record for a season at 36, and tied for the lowest 18-hole round by shooting 69 last season.

"I think one of us will be able to claim that record for ourselves this year," Butler said.

The Mustangs foursome of Newell, Butler, Danielle Grace and Anna Newell posted 147 to break the team nine-hole scoring record.

The only mark the quartet has yet to topple is the team 18-hole scoring record. The 2004 Mustangs set that bar at 296. The current squad came closest at last year's state tournament with 298.

That 2004 Northside team has one other thing the current one doesn't: a state championship trophy.

"I think this is our year," A.J. Newell said. "We only have two more chances, this year and next."

One thing is certain: the road to the state title won't be congested.

Golfers to watch

Ryan Ashburn, Sr., Indian Rocks Christian: Returning district champion will compete for Player of the Year honors.

Michelle Butler, Jr., Northside Christian: Qualified for the Rolex Tournament of Champions and the McDonald's Betsy Rawls Girls Championship on the AJGA Tour this summer.

Lauren Coe, Fr., East Lake: Transfer from Carrollwood Day School could be a breakout star for the Eagles

Shane Crutchfield, So., St. Petersburg: Won the Ladies Club Championship at the Vinoy Golf Club in April.

Danielle Grace, Jr., Northside Christian: Has improved her long game and is shooting consistently in the low to mid 80s.

Justine Knox, Jr., Dunedin: The Falcons' lone female competitor, Knox will look to qualify for state after barely missing the cut last season.

A.J. Newell, Jr., Northside Christian: Shot 73-74 over the final two rounds at the AJGA Junior at Steelwood in June to force a playoff. Finished second overall.

Anna Newell, eighth grade, Northside Christian: Has the talent to break all of Northside's individual records once her career is complete.

Jordan Patton, So., East Lake: Best player on the county's second-best girls squad.

Jasmine Wade, So., Palm Harbor University: Youngster capped an impressive freshman campaign by shooting 73 at districts and 78 at regionals.

Key dates

Sept. 10: Mustang Invitational at Seminole Lakes Country Club

Oct. 5: Northside Christian with American Heritage, Saint Andrew's and Archbishop McCarthy at Doral in Miami

Note: The public school girls golfers will compete against each other every Thursday throughout the season to ensure they play in the required four meets to stay eligible for districts. The first meet is at 3 p.m. at Countryside Country Club. The venue will switch each week.

Season preview: Pinellas girls golf 08/25/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 10:34pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Justin Timberlake in Super Bowl halftime show for first time since 'wardrobe malfunction'


    Justin Timberlake has finally been invited back to the Super Bowl halftime show, 14 years after the "wardrobe malfunction" with Janet Jackson caused a national controversy.

    Singer Janet Jackson covers her breast as Justin Timberlake holds part of her costume after her outfit came undone during the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston in 2004. The NFL announced Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, that Timberlake will headline the Super Bowl halftime show Feb. 4 in Minnesota, 14 years after the "wardrobe malfunction" with Janet Jackson cause a national controversy. [Associated Press]
  2. No more looking at Jim Harbaugh, but should we look at Notre Dame?


    STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Overheard Sunday morning in a hotel elevator, among two Penn State fans: "Did you see Coach Harbaugh's interview? He looked shellshocked. One of those coaches with his job on the line."

    Jim Harbaugh and Michigan are falling out of the national conversation; Sunday they fell out of the AP rankings after a blowout loss to Penn State. [Detroit Free Press/TNS]
  3. NFL Week 7: What we learned


    Are the Purple People Eaters back in Minnesota? The Vikings sacked Joe Flacco five times and held the Ravens to 208 total yards in a 24-16 home victory, their third straight win. QB Case Keenum looked ordinary with a 67.7 passer rating after completing 20-of-31 for 188 yards and an interception. Kai Forbath …

    Trainers, top, check Cleveland Browns tackle Joe Thomas after Thomas was hurt in the second half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane) OHTD122
  4. Bills' comeback against Bucs a win for the process


    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — It hasn't taken Sean McDermott long to understand how to play to his base. Asked if the Bills had "gotten away with one" Sunday, the first-year coach gushed about his team reflecting the character of the town.

    Under first-year coach Sean McDermott, the Bills are 3-0 at home for the first time in six years. “I love playing here,” he says.
  5. No. 18 UCF closes in on USF, which drops to No. 17


    USF remained ahead of UCF in the Associated Press Top 25 poll released Sunday — just barely.