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Pinellas golfers take on toughies

Four Pinellas golfers are among 120 amateurs scheduled to tee off in the Florida State Amateur Thursday through Sunday at Black Diamond Ranch in Lecanto. Richard Kerper and Jack Veghte of Clearwater, and Patrick Ponce and Dan Stone of St. Petersburg will challenge the state's toughest amateur field and one of the toughest courses.

Veghte might be the hottest golfer, having won the Florida State Golf Association Senior Championship a month ago. Veghte has won this tournament three previous times (1968, '70, '75).

Kerper performs well in local competitions and is an annual force in the New Year's Invitational at Lakewood Country Club.

Stone is a recent graduate of St. Petersburg High and is headed for the University of Florida on a golf scholarship.

A field of 760 golfers tried to qualify for the tournament. Among the 120-golfer field is defending champion Robbie Davis of Lakeland.

PGA match play: In the North Florida PGA Match Play Championship last month at Plantation Country Club in Venice, Paul Coe, a pro at Feather Sound, reached the quarterfinals before losing 2-up to eventual champion Bob Duval of Ponte Vedra Beach. Coe won two matches before his defeat. Rick Dingus of Wentworth Golf Club in Tarpon Springs won his first round before being eliminated in the second round.

Pinellas juniors: The Pinellas County Junior Golf Association started Monday with the Second Tour (ages 13-18) tournament at Mangrove Bay Golf Course. The First Tour (ages 8-12) begins Thursday at Mainlands.

The rest of the First Tour schedule includes Glen Oaks (June 20), Twin Brooks (June 24), Countryside Executive (July 11), Pinecrest (July 18) and Baypointe (July 25).

The remaining Second Tour tournaments are Tarpon Woods (June 17), East Lake Woodlands (June 21), Chi Chi Rodriguez (June 27), Feather Sound (July 8), Lakewood (July (15), Crescent Oaks (July 22), Seminole Lake (Aug. 1) and Clearwater (Aug. 8).

Membership in the PCJGA is $35 (First Tour) and $45 (Second Tour). For more information, call 384-GOLF and leave a message.

Long drive contest: Local qualifying for the 1991 Chrysler Long Driving Championship is June 29 at Clearwater Country Club. Qualifiers will move on to district competition with a chance to reach the national championship Sept. 14-15 at the Boca Raton Resort Club. There is $60,000 prize money available, with $18,000 and a car going to the winner.

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