Brooksville's Tom Kirby called Silver Springs Shores in Ocala "the hardest golf course I've ever played" after shooting a 1-over-par 73 Thursday that earned him a spot in the 76th annual Florida State Amateur Championship June 24-27 at Bay Hill in Orlando.
Tough courses connected with major tournaments are nothing new for Kirby, however.
"This is the second time I've qualified (for the Florida State Amateur)," he said. "About eight years ago I played at Sawgrass in Jacksonville where I shot 79, 79, 74 and 80. That course was so hard, yet two 79s made the cut."
Kirby will be joined at Bay Hill by two other golfers from Hernando and Citrus counties. Brooksville's Blane Brown and Crystal River's Denny Allen also survived qualifiers Thursday.
Allen played in a group just ahead of Kirby at Silver Springs Shores and also carded a 73. Ocala residents Brian Houston and Paul Irvin also qualified with that score.
Brown had a tougher route in his bid for a berth at the Florida State Amateur, where 120 golfers will compete. The recent Hernando High graduate shot a 75 Thursday at Lone Palm in Lakeland, where 63 golfers were chasing 11 spots.
"Blane was involved in a five-way playoff for the final three spots," Kirby said. "He parred the first (extra) hole while two guys bogeyed it, so he ended up making it."
Allen's round at Silver Springs Shores was a strange one as he failed to make any birdies. He had 14 pars, three bogeys, and an eagle-3 on No. 14.
"I drove the ball real well using my son's driver," Allen said. "It was a gift which he hit for a while but didn't like, so I said, "Let me try it.' The ball's going straight so I think I'll keep using it."
This will be Allen's second trip to the Florida State Amateur. His other appearance came in the mid-'70s.
Kiwanis Club raises $7,000: The Kiwanis Club of Brooksville's 22nd annual Kiwanis Golf Tournament was a rousing success last Wednesday.
"We raised about $7,000 and had a great day with over 130 hole sponsors," tournament director Tom Kirby said. "We've worked real hard on sponsors and that effort was headed up by Nanette Cioni."
Last year, about $5,500 was raised through the tournament, and that was the previous best effort. Last week's event _ a four-man scramble at Brooksville Golf and Country Club _ attracted 104 golfers.
Darryl Johnston, John Sandy, Tim Jinkens and Rick Carlton each picked up $75 in gift certificates with a top score of 55.
There was a three-way tie for second at 56, with each golfer receiving $25. Those teams included Steve Barry, Frank Reso, Wayne Bauermeister, David Oliver; Bill Bell, Jay Wilkes, John Rhoden, David Williams; Wayne Johnson, Dave Johnson, Chris Kingsley and Tom Kirby.
Johnson, Bauer set pace: Pasco's Daren Johnson and Spring Hill's Beth Bauer were winners in the boys 16-18 and girls divisions at Plantation as the North Suncoast Junior Golf Association launched its summer season Saturday.
Johnson won a match of cards with Pasco's Chris Clements after both shot 77 for the top spot. Ocala's Jason Trump was third at 80 in the boys 16-18 category.
Bauer's score of 73 put her well ahead of runner-up Sarah Cote of Spring Hill, who turned in a 85. Inglis' Cari Hill finished third with a 95.
Greg Coleman of Spring Hill won the boys 14-15 division by shooting 83. Floral City's Jason Forbes placed second with 84 and Adam Pirtima of Ocala was third at 88.
Ocala's Scott Kaylor posted an 83 to win the boys 12-13 group by four shots over Brian Coleman of Spring Hill. Crystal River's Scotty Elliott took third with a 95.
Crystal River golfers took the top two spots in the boys 10-11 division (nine holes). Doug Ponticos had a 52 and Sam Latiff a 56. Joe Boune of New Port Richey had a 60 for third.
Jerry Reed of Beverly Hills topped the boys intermediate category (nine holes) with a 65. Brooksville's Jeff Craighead was second at 66, followed by Ocala's Seth Ditty at 76.
Competition was tight in the girls intermediate division, where Crystal River's Rebecca Twiner beat Dunnellon's Leslie McElvey 52-53. Spring Hill's Michele Demeter and Ana DiDonato tied for third at 62. Demeter won a match of cards, but DiDonato also qualified for the Tournament of Champions in August.
Brad Deitemeyer's 48 made him a two-stroke victor over Inverness' Chuck Fernandez in the boys and girls 8-9 group (nine holes).
There were 74 golfers at the opening-day event. The association will take this weekend off before returning to action with a tournament at Quail Ridge June 26 at noon. Call director Marion Walker at 904-795-7211 for more information.
Seville second after opener: The women's team from Seville holds second place in the North Suncoast Travel League following season-opening matches Thursday at Seville.
Beacon Woods is the leader thanks to its 14-4 crushing of Timber Oaks. Seville topped Seven Springs 13-5, and Crescent Oaks is in third place by virtue of its 10.5-7.5 victory over Magnolia Valley.
The next league match will be July 15 at Crescent Oaks in Tarpon Springs.
Hot round at Sherman Hills: Ryuji Imada, a junior player from Tampa, fired a 6-under-par 66 Friday from the gold tees (playing 6,778 yards) at Sherman Hills in Ridge Manor.
Imada shot 36-30, including an eagle on the 497-yard, par-5 No. 15 hole.
Pro shop manager Bill Troyanos said the round was a course record at Sherman Hills, which has been open since Jan. 14.