The Brevard College Invitational, which also served as the state Junior College Preview Golf Tournament, confirmed coach Jim Smith's suspicions about his St. Petersburg Junior College team.
The Trojans aren't ready to run with the big dogs.
Still, although they came in 11th of 13 teams at the 36-hole tournament at Deer Creek Country Club two weeks ago, there were some positive signs.
Scott Marsh, a sophomore who was co-captain at Clearwater High, finished 20th of 65 with rounds of 76 and 78.
Furthermore, the Trojans played without a fifth man in a format where only the top four score.
The other team members and their score were Ray Garnett, from Beverly Hills in Citrus County, 80-85; Marc Prestipino, a freshman from Largo High, 85-81; and Keith Kralis, from Southeast High in Bradenton, 94-95.
Brian Hoffman from New Jersey is also a member of the team. He led the Trojans in scoring (81-79) in their previous tournament, the Florida Today at Titusville.
Smith is confident the team will improve by the spring season.
"Scott is the team leader right now," Smith said. "He was even after 14 holes (in the Brevard tournament) both days, so he's having trouble finishing. He just has to work on a few little things."
As for Prestipino, Smith said he'll improve with maturity. "Marc's swing is sound. He has to play one shot at a time instead of thinking ahead."
Looking ahead to the second semester, Smith has signed another Largo graduate, Sam Derringer, who will join the team in January. Derringer, a 1987 graduate, didn't play in high school. He has spent the past five years working at Storm's Driving Range and learned the game there.
Smith said he's interested in attracting other area prospects with college eligibility.
Marsh's game has improved since he began playing under the guidance of Smith, who doubles as the teaching pro at Missing Links Driving Range in Largo. "My swing has improved since I started working with him, and also my short game," said Marsh, who shot a 67 at Clearwater Country Club earlier this year. "I hit it more with my body now and get better distance and accuracy. He makes everything simple."
Marsh plans to continue his education and golf career at Florida State next year.
The team will host a 10-school tournament at Wentworth Golf Club on Nov. 1.
Pro ranks: Bill Buttner of Gulfport has decided to try to return to the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament for the 16th time. A sectional qualifier will be held at Jacaranda Country Club in Plantation during Nov. 10-13. Buttner earned his Tour card for 1991 but by finishing 183rd with $40,373 in earnings, he failed to make the top 125 on the money list and thereby retain his card.
"I'm doing all the right things in practice," said Buttner, 36, a native of Plymouth, Mass. "Now I have to apply it in a competitive atmosphere. So I'm looking for some competitive matches between now and qualifying school."
Buttner has been practicing at nearby Pasadena Country Club and going up to Innisbrook working with teaching pro Lou Smither. "I've been working on driving the ball to getting it in the hole and everything in between," Buttner added.
The low 45 scores from the six-round qualifying finals (Houston, late November) earn cards for the 1993 Tour.
Greg Kraft of Clearwater and Dick Mast, a Lakewood High graduate, successfully competed in the 1991 qualifying tournament.
Results: Frank Mullen and Bob Westcott were the winners of the A Flight of the 7-M Construction Company tournament at Tarpon Woods on Sept. 26. Mayor Jerry Provenzano of Oldsmar and Gary Jones won the B Flight.
Correction: Dick Smithes, whose two holes-in-one in a recent round were reported last Tuesday, is a member of Tarpon Springs Golf Club. Another club was mentioned.
Coming up: Here's a look at upcoming tournaments:
The second annual Reptron Electronics tournament for the Children's Home of Tampa Bay will be held at Innisbrook on Tuesday, Oct. 20. It's a four-person scramble with $1,000 first prize for team low gross. It starts at 8 a.m. For registration information, call Sandra Logan at 854-2351.
The "Keep America Beautiful" tournament will be held at Bardmoor North on Oct. 24. It's a scramble with a shotgun start at 8:30. The entry fee is $50, which includes lunch. To register, call Dick Feimster (397-5538) or Nancy Loehr (893-9379).
The Pact and Shearson Lehman Brothers joint ladies tournament will be held at Belleair Country Club on Oct. 30 at 10:30. To register, call Kelly Williams at 799-5700.
Bardmoor North will host a Quota Point Game on Wednesday afternoons at 3:30 beginning on Nov. 4. The matches will consist of nine holes. The fee of $20 includes hors d'oeuvres in the clubhouse after golf. To register, call Troy Suarez at 397-0483.
The Conquer the Mountain Celebrity Golf Classic will be held Hunter's Green on Nov. 16. It's a benefit for former LPGA Tour pro Heather Farr and former dragster Darrell Gwynn. For further information, call 876-0505.