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Rinaldo captures 2 more junior titles

Robyn Rinaldo of Dade City, Winter Haven's John Keaton and Dunedin's Roger Hebert were winners in the Southern Dunes Junior Classic in Haines City. The June 15-16 event was the fifth stop on the Florida Junior Golf Association tour.

The first-year association was founded by Bill Rinaldo, owner and head pro at Dade City's Sundance Golf Club. The FJGA, which lists more than 160 members, organizes tournaments for amateurs throughout the state. The next competition is July 24-25 at the Lake Buena Vista Golf Course.

Rinaldo captured the girls 13-18 division with a 81-79_160. Keaton shot 75-74_149 to claim the boys 15-18 division, and Hebert took the boys 13-14 title with a 76-79_155.

Wesley Chapel's Naomi Iidaa finished two strokes behind Rinaldo with an 81-81_162.

Todd Negoshian of Zephyrhills was the only other top finisher from Pasco County. He shot 88-85_173.

Rinaldo, who golfed on the boys team at Zephyrhills High and is a two-time All-North Suncoast player of the year, won the North Florida Section PGA Junior Championship June 22-23 at Orange Lake Country Club in Kissimmee. That qualified her for the PGA Nationals, scheduled Aug. 22-25 in West Palm Beach.

She finished 1 under par at 107 for 27 holes. That was eight strokes ahead of Jill Crowe of Ormond Beach and nine strokes in front of Orlando's Robin Rhein. Rinaldo followed an even-par 36 on the first day with a 37-34.

Shooting 83 at 83: At Seven Springs Golf Club, 83 proved to be Tony Hodnik's lucky number on June 17. The Holiday resident shot his age from the white tees on the 6,120-yard, par-72 course.

Hodnik, an 18-handicap, has been a club member at Seven Springs since moving from Illinois 17 years ago. He accomplished the feat in a foursome with Ron Smith, Bob Terhune and Phil Ciani.

It marked the fourth time Hodnik has shot his age, including once at 71 and twice within 10 days at 78.

"Every once in a while I get the feel and do something like that," he said.

Big League Challenge: Any "home field" advantage in the Big League Golf Challenge on Saturday at Black Diamond Ranch in Lecanto probably belongs to Casey Weldon and Hal Lanier. But the star-studded field they'll compete against makes picking a winner far from a sure thing.

Lanier, a former San Francisco Giants infielder and Houston Astros manager who resides in Dunnellon, has honed his golfing skills on area courses since retiring from baseball. He finished ninth in the shootout last year.

Weldon, the former Florida State University star now playing pro football with the Tampa Bay Bucs, purchased a home at Black Diamond last year. He failed to qualify for the final round of the Big League Challenge last year, but hopes to be in the thick of the 10-man shootout that begins Saturday at 8:30 a.m.

A pro-am event for sponsors kicks off the Big League Challenge on Friday. Top scorers among current and retired professional athletes from baseball, football, hockey and basketball, along with several exempt players, will advance to the shootout on the spectacular Quarry holes the following day.

Others in the field include defending champion Dick Anderson, Steve Spurrier, Mike Schmidt, Jim "Mudcat" Grant, Len "Truck" Robinson, Rick Rhoden and Rick Barry.

This year, anyone buying a $20 parking pass at any SunBank location can watch the shootout. Money from the passes is earmarked for the American Cancer Society.

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