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Citrus Cup event to be match play

There will be a format change when the third match of the Citrus Cup Challenge is conducted next Monday at noon at Twisted Oaks in Beverly Hills.

Pine Ridge will send 12 players to face an equal number from Twisted Oaks, which has held the cup for two matches. Match play replaces the eight low net scores counted in the two previous matches.

"It's a format similar to the Ryder Cup where each match is worth a point," Twisted Oaks head pro Chuck McNeight said Monday. "If golfers halve the match, each team gets a half-point. Pine Ridge must get 6{ points to take the cup from us, whereas we need just 6 points to keep it."

Twisted Oaks defeated Inverness 543-615 when the first Citrus Cup Challenge match was held Jan. 11. That was followed Feb. 1 by another Twisted Oaks win, 552-574 over Plantation.

McNeight said Pine Ridge pro Brian Almony contacted him and proposed the third cup match and format. Questions were raised about handicapping at Twisted Oaks following the Plantation match, and McNeight decided to let future challengers pick the format.

"It'll be six weeks since the last match, but that's due to scheduling difficulties as this is the busy season," McNeight said. "There's no way Pine Ridge could get its team together any sooner."

Spectators are welcome.

Club champions crowned: Twisted Oaks held its annual men's and women's club championships over the weekends of Feb. 26-27 and March 5-6. Everybody played 72 holes.

Dave Blackshear is the men's club champion for 1994 after shooting 8-over-par 296. He received some Waterford crystal and a bronze statuette.

Anna Giese is the women's club champion, though her score wasn't available. Other gross winners were Nick Segadi in A flight and Roy Swanson in the seniors flight.

Net winners included George Wilde in the championship flight, Jack Dikeman in A flight, Will Brown in seniors flight, and Mimi Winstead in the women's division.

Richards joins staff at World Woods: World Woods north of Brooksville welcomed a new assistant professional last week in Mark Richards, who said he got the position following a 3{-hour interview with club general manager Stan Cooke.

If Richards gets the green light to do what he proposes, golfers at the 36-hole facility soon will see a significant change in the operation.

"In the golf business your resume is outstanding and Mr. Cooke got hold of mine," Richards said Monday. "He reviewed it, found out where I've been and what I've been doing, and called me for an interview where we discussed some ideas I have.

"I plan to establish a food and beverage operation here at World Woods. In the past, our clients pretty much had to brown-bag it. But we're going to supply food for the guests to implement a much higher customer service-oriented facility."

Richards, 24, is an Indiana native who moved to Naples in 1979. He played four years of golf at Naples Barron Collier High, where he graduated in 1987 before moving to Orlando.

A golf scholarship enabled Richards to play three years at the University of Central Florida. He also worked in the cart barn at Metrowest and then in the golf shop and as an outside supervisor at Bay Hill, spending a total of two years at the two Orlando clubs.

The final stop for Richards before coming to World Woods was as an assistant pro for just over a year at the new Falcon's Fire Golf Club in Kissimmee.

Cooke was away at a tournament Monday and couldn't be reached for comment on the hiring of Richards.

Weather holds Cioe to tie: Inclement weather wiped out the planned second round of a Spalding Space Coast Tour event last Wednesday at Palisades Country Club in Clermont. That resulted in a tie for first place between Crystal River's Joe Cioe and Matt Jackson of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., at 2-under-par 70. Each received $1,500.

Cioe is playing mainly in Spalding Space Coast Tour events this winter with an occasional Tommy Armour Tour event. He plans to travel north in late May to compete on the Canadian Tour.

Plantation to hold PAT: Six golfers from Citrus and Hernando counties will be among 40 participants when a PGA Player Ability Test is conducted April 4 at Plantation Inn Golf Resort in Crystal River.

Men must match or better a target score of 155 while women must shoot 164 or below for 36 holes to pass the PAT, which is one of the requirements to participate in the apprentice program. Area golfers who have signed up for the test include Citrus Hills' J. William Balthis, Southern Woods' Mike Cirone, former Sugarmill Woods assistant Rick Hill, Timber Pines' George Kotis, Black Diamond's Christopher Lopes, and Plantation's Laura Mitchell.

Golfers will play 18 holes beginning at 8:26 a.m. and another round beginning at 1:06 p.m. Spectators are welcome.

Women's pro-am: Plantation also will be the site of a Ladies Pro-Am on April 5. A 9 a.m. shotgun start is set for the four-person event.

Women pros will bring along a guest and then team with two Plantation members. Cost is $35 per golfer, which includes prizes and hors d'oeuvres.

Former Plantation teaching pro Marion Walker, who now works at Orange Lake in Orlando, has indicated she'll play in the event. Quail Ridge head pro Jan Johnson said she hopes to compete too.

Interested women amateurs should contact a female professional about the pro-am.

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