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Avila's team still best in state

Things were kind of backwards after the first day of last week's State Club Team competition at Orlando's Grand Cypress Country Club.

Avila Country Club's A team, the tournament champion the past two years, was in fourth place, four strokes back. Meanwhile, the Avila B team surged to the first-day lead. Wasn't it supposed to be the other way around?

Normalcy returned the following day as the A team of John Fowler, D.J. Holland, Bob Kouwe, Doug LaCrosse and Wyatt Meyer found the older Grand Cypress course more to its liking (the first day was played at the club's newer course). The five-man team fired a 293 to easily win the tournament by 10 strokes.

"We had a real good final round," said Holland, who played on Avila's fourth-place B team last year. "The players we have are five real solid players. No one has a real incredible round, but we were consisent. We had the most consistent team there."

The B team stumbled to 11th after the second day. But the A team's win marked the 11th consecutive time a Hillsborough County team has won the 51-year-old State Club Team tourney. Bloomingdale's A team finished fifth and the B team took seventh.

For Avila, it means another year of local bragging rights.

"We've had a solid reign on the tournament for three years. It gives us something to talk about with the other clubs," Holland said. "It gives us that little upper hand."

State Amateur: Four of the five members of Avila's winning team qualified this week for the State Amateur Championship, to be held June 24-27 at Bay Hill Country Club. John Fowler chose not to play. Doug LaCrosse is the defending champion.

Qualifying rounds were held at East Lake Woodlands on Tuesday and Lone Palms on Thursday. Qualifying for the state amateur continues through Tuesday.

Tipps is pro of year: Hunter's Green director of golf Jim Tipps has been named the Golf Professional of the Year by the Pinellas County Golf Association.

Tipps, who has been at Hunter's Green the past four years, first as an assistant pro and now as director, was honored based on a review of 30 clubs in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.

CGA tournament director Mary Tennant said Tipps was cited for his ability to serve his club's members, arrange and organize the running of tournaments, and for the overall operation of the club's golf facility.

"He's tournament smart," Tennant said. "Working for a private club, he has to be able to keep members happy by serving them first, and he's shown that by having tournaments for them. He's able to juggle members and outside tournaments in a professional way."

Tipps is a Class A member of the PGA and has served on the board of directors of the Greater Tampa Junior Golf Association.

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