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Roe backs off a bit, opens door for Saxon's CGA win

How would you play the final round of a stroke-play tournament with a two-stroke lead?

Tommy Roe of Clearwater found himself in that situation Saturday in the County Golf Association's 20th annual individual championship at Fox Hollow, his home course.

After shooting a 3-under-par 68 on the 6,402-yard layout Friday, including a 30 on the front nine with five birdies, Roe, 52, held a two-stroke lead over defending champion Frank Saxon of Clearwater and the rest of the strong field.

Playing Saturday with Scott Sabadosh and Dennis Deja, Saxon fashioned a 75 compared to Roe's 79 for a two-stroke victory.

Upon reflection, Roe said his approach to the final round might have cost him the victory.

"I came in here today (Saturday) playing semi-conservatively," he said. "And every time I hit like that I got into trouble. On three holes my ball was in a trap and I had to stand outside of it to hit."

Saxon took a different approach toward defending his title.

"Since I've been playing more competitive golf this year, I came into this year's tournament more relaxed," said Saxon, 47, who played collegiately at Georgia Southern. "I decided to just play my game, try to keep it in play, and figured I'd be there at the end."

Saxon got off to a good start with birdies on Nos. 1 and 4, making the turn in 1-over 36. Meanwhile, Roe struggled with a 43 on the front.

Ray Goodman of Clearwater made a charge with a final-round 72 that left him tied with Roe for second place. Goodman, who shot a course-record 64 at Fox Hollow last month, closed with birdies on his last three holes _ Nos. 17, 18 and 1.

"Today I had seven birdies and a lot of trouble," he quipped.

Sabadosh and Deja, who had opening rounds of 72, finished with 76 and 78 respectively for fourth and fifth place.

John Jennings, the defending champion in the senior division, had to withdraw just before the tournament due to a shoulder injury. That opened the door for Spencer Gaylord of St. Petersburg, who put together rounds of 71 and 78 for a 149 total and the win by five strokes over Bob Hamilton of Tarpon Springs. The seniors played from the white tees.

STATE CHAMPIONSHIP: The same time the CGA championship was being contested, the State Match Play Championship was being held at The Forest Country Club in Fort Myers.

Roe played on opening day Thursday, but made an early exit by losing his first-round match. Other Pinellas stalwarts who won their opening matches included Chris Covert, a junior at Furman; Marshall Ames of Clearwater, and Feather Sound's Kevin Dyer.

Dyer, runner-up for the CGA crown last year, won three matches before losing to eventual runner-up John Corzilius of Nokomis 3 and 2. In Saturday afternoon's final, Doug Lacrosse of Tampa won 3 and 2. In his six matches, Lacrosse never had to play beyond the 16th hole.

WEST COAST WOMEN: Sharon Baerenklau, a member at Countryside, ran away with the West Coast Women's Golf Association match at Cheval last Monday, shooting a 2-over 73 to beat runner-up Sandy Jones of Tampa Palms by nine strokes.

JUNIOR GOLF: Chris Ford's scorecard at the recent Future Masters tournament in Dothan, Ala., which was kept by another player, read an impressive 73. But what occurred to the 11-year-old student at Safety Harbor Middle School was that on two occasions an opponent asked him to move his ball marker and he forgot to return it to its original position.

So being a young man of integrity, he reported his violation and was assessed a total of four penalty strokes for a revised score of 77.

Asked why he reported the mistake at the scorer's table, Ford said simply: "It was wrong. I just didn't realize it till after the second time."

Ford's honesty merited a feature story in the Dothan Eagle. He still qualified for the stroke-play finals, where he finished eighth. But returning to Pinellas, he won Pinellas Junior Golf Asscociation matches at Mangrove Bay (78) and at the par-3 Glen Oaks course (65).

David Tiffenberg of St. Petersburg, playing in the 9-10 age division at the Future Masters tournament in Alabama, shot rounds of 41 and 39 from the red tees to tie for first in regulation but lost in a playoff.

STRAIGHT PUTTS: Next year's CGA stroke-play championship has been scheduled for early October at the same club, Fox Hollow on the Pasco County line. Marketing director Bill Gilkes of the PGA West Central Chapter announced that the chapter will participate in the Sept. 16 "Give Kids The World" tournament at Walt Disney World. The chapter will sponsor the driving range. Bobby Grace, who designs clubs in St. Petersburg, will be on hand to host the putting contest. Gilkes is working to line up title sponsors for all West Central Chapter events.

Keith Gilkes, a graduate of Countryside High, graduated in May from the University of Tampa, where he was No. 1 on the golf team all four years. Mark Mitchell, the captain of the conference champion Countryside High School golf team this year, has signed with the UT Spartans. Mike Hudson of Tarpon Springs shot 78 at the Eastern Regional of the National Amputee Golf Association tournament at Hershey, Pa., earlier this month to win by 11 strokes. Next week he plays in the Canadian Championship.