To a large extent, golf is a game of touch.
Last Friday, Jay Overton, the director of golf at Innisbrook Hilton Resort, found his touch to win the professional division of the Channel Markers Pro-Am with a near-flawless round of 65 at Clearwater Country Club. He shot 32 on the front nine and 33 coming in, with a total of eight birdies and one bogey that came when he three-putted the undulating 10th green.
"I always seem to play this course well," said Overton, 43, who played on the PGA Tour last year. "Of my eight birdies, all were pretty close _ within 5 feet _ except on No. 7 where I made a 30-footer. The course is much improved with a new irrigation system and added trees. It has a lot of character. And it will play tougher as those trees grow."
Of not having a tour card this year and not playing with the elite, Overton said: "I miss the opportunity to be on tour but not necessarily being out there every week. Although I only got to play in 13 tournaments last year, I found out you can't serve two masters. I still had my responsibilities at Innisbrook."
Overton was playing only his third 18-hole round this year. He plans to try to qualify for the U.S. Open at Innisbrook in May and advance to the final qualifier at Bay Hill in Orlando.
Jason Hadden, 25, a teaching pro at Missing Links Range in Largo, shot 33-34_67 for runner-up honors. Hadden, a graduate of Wright State in Ohio, has been playing on the mini tour and has won two Tommy Armour events.
Jimmy King of Avila and Jim Barber of Storm's Driving Range tied for third place with 69s.
In team competition, Wentworth took top honors behind the play of Rick Dingus, Juice Ahern, Tim Roose and Fred Charlton. They shot 124 in a format where the two best balls scored. The pro and one amateur played scratch and the other two players played at 80 percent handicap.
Ahern nailed an eagle on the 260-yard, par-4 14th hole when his drive stopped 3 feet from the pin. He used a 4-wood off the tee.
The Pro Line Golf team from St. Petersburg finished second, one stroke behind. It was led by PGA pro Joe Charles, Jeff Jones, Bob Ohle and Kent Caldwell of Valrico.
The annual tournament raised $1,000 for the visually impaired of Pinellas County, said Greg McClimans, the tournament director.
WCGA: At Seminole Lake on Thursday, Lisa Williams of St. Petersburg won the Women's County Golf Association championship flight with an 87. However, Joan Huebner bettered that by three strokes in winning the senior flight for golfers 55 and over.
Pinellas Interclub: Wally Kozlow and Paul Farley shot a better-ball score of 61 at Seminole Lake on Feb. 17 to lead the Innisbrook team to its first win in the 10-match Interclub series. Innisbrook shot 324 to beat Seminole Lake by five strokes.
John Ruggiero and John Cooper of Countryside tied with John Cripps and Brian Auehton of Tarpon Woods for second at 63.
Steve Leslie of Crescent Oaks tied R.J. Ziats of Belleair for pro honors with 73s.
Wentworth remains in first place in the overall standings. Tarpon Woods is second.
Junior golf: Shorecrest freshman Shane Smith won the girls 15-under division at the Junior Ping tournament at Williamsburg, Va., last weekend. She shot 83-85 in freezing temperatures (mid 20s) to win by one stroke and earn Junior Ping All-America honors.