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Kuntz lands partial scholarship

A letter-writing campaign has helped Crystal River High alumnus Tim Kuntz land a half-ride golf scholarship covering books, tuition and partial living expenses for 2{ years at Central Wesleyan College in Central, S.C.

Kuntz will begin Jan. 8 at Central Wesleyan, a NAIA-Division I college located about 6 miles from Clemson University. He plans to study business management to augment the AA degree he earned in May, 1993 from the University of Central Florida.

"I've spent the last year-and-a-half checking into colleges and my eligibility, and this is my last route as far as competitive college golf," Kuntz said. "NAIA eligibility is not as strict as NCAA.

"I got together a list of NAIA schools and started writing and sending tapes to them. I wrote to all five NAIA schools in Florida and about 10 in all. Flagler College in St. Augustine expressed an interest but they're changing coaches now while the other schools in Florida have just begun golf programs and aren't offering scholarships yet."

Kuntz was at Central Wesleyan last weekend to sign. He said the college offered the additional {-year to complete his degree, although he expects to finish in two years.

Central Wesleyan will play the first of five winter/spring matches in February. That will be followed by tournaments in the National Christian College Association (NCCA) and NAIA, Kuntz said. The golf program, now in its fifth year, also schedules four matches each fall.

"They seem to play a pretty competitive schedule," Kuntz said. "Last year, they finished second, and the year before that third, in NAIA-Division I, and they play in the National Christian College Association, a very competitive conference."

The Kuntz family moved to Crystal River from Indiana in March, 1986 as Tim was completing his freshman year of high school. He played three years of golf with the Pirates before graduating in 1989.

Cioe passes first test: Crystal River's Joe Cioe, 29, passed the first stage of PGA qualifying last Tuesday-Friday at TPC Cheval and moves on to join other hopefuls in Jacksonville next month for a second-stage qualifier. Top scorers there advance to national qualifying finals at Grenelefe Resort in Haines City.

It took a 291 for four rounds at Cheval to qualify. Cioe's scorecards reflected efforts of 74-69-77-70 for 290, sending him to second-stage action for the fifth time in five attempts. However, Cioe has never reached the national finals for PGA qualifying.

Cioe earned about $8,000 playing on the Canadian Tour and at two events in New England last summer. Rich Sadler of Glen Lakes also earned a trip to Jacksonville by shooting rounds of 75-73-72-67 for 287 at Cheval.

United Way: Saturday's United Way of Citrus County Golf Tournament at Plantation Inn netted about $1,700, according to tournament director Ben Branch.

"It could have been better, but when we were planning it we only knew of one other tournament going on," Branch said. "As it turned out, there were two other golf tournaments plus a softball tournament so that took away from us."

There were 11 teams involved. The winners with a net 51 were Ron Meyer, Mike Griffin, Mike Lindsay and John Mascotti.

Two teams tied at 55. A match of cards was used to settle positions. Mark Strifler, Skip Ewing, Jay Pilgrim and John Mason finished second. David Ahern, Robert Ahern, Jim Carr and Gary Wilkinson took third.

Orange Slice: Invitations recently went out for the fifth annual Orange Slice Golf Tournament at Seven Rivers Golf Club in Crystal River on Dec. 7.

Amateur women with handicap indexes from 27.1-40.4 will compete in a best two-balls-of-four format. Golfers receiving invitations are urged to respond promptly. Cost is $26 per guest.

Contact Penny LeVert at (904) 795-6206 if you meet the handicapping criteria and haven't received an invitation.

Baptist tourney: Inverness First Baptist Church held its fall best-ball scramble Saturday at the Oaks course of Citrus Hills. Taking home the team award was Tom Bywater, Vivian Toth, Robert Gibbs and Jean Kelly. Bywater also won the honor for longest drive. Pete Toth took the closest-to-the-pin award.

_ Staff writer Steve Hasel contributed to this report.

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