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St. Petersburg's new par-3 Cypress Links to open Saturday

Tampa Bay's newest course will be officially opened Saturday morning with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Cypress Links, a nine-hole, par-3 municipal course, is adjacent to Mangrove Bay Golf Course on 62nd Avenue NE.

St. Petersburg Mayor David Fischer and council member Connie Kone, who represents that area, will attend the 9:30 a.m. ribbon-cutting. All council members have been invited.

The holes range from 103 to 187 yards in length and total 1,311 yards from the back tees and 1,150 from the middle tees.

Fees are $5 to walk and $3.50 to replay. A power cart is another $3.50 per person per nine holes. In January, the rates are expected to go up $7.50 walking and $5 to replay.

The course was designed and constructed by Roger Parks of MGI Construction Company of Clearwater with a budget of $520,000.

City golf director Jeff Hollis is happy with how the course was built. "They did a real good job," said Hollis, who has set the course standard so far with a practice round of 1-under-par 26. "It's a great enhancement to our existing Mangrove Bay facilities and a nice addition for the community.

"Many par-3 courses are labeled pitch and putt. This is longer, more spacious and more challenging than the traditional par-3 course."

NOTES: Hollis is co-holder of the course record. Another person got away before someone at the pro shop got his name. Hollis played for Largo High before earning a scholarship to St. Petersburg Junior College and the University of Western Kentucky.

Peggy Hayduke has been appointed golf supervisor at Cypress Links. She was promoted from a similar position at the city's other par-3 course, Twin Brooks. The new course is projected to draw 36,000 rounds in 1998. It will be open to the public Saturday morning after the dedication ceremony. The phone number is 551-3333.

APPOINTMENTS: Frank Reynolds has been appointed PGA teaching pro at Greg McClimans' Tarpon Springs Driving Range on U.S. 19. Randall Aebersold is the new head professional for the Chi Chi Rodriguez courses on McMullen-Booth Road in Clearwater and Glen Oaks in Clearwater. The par-3 Glen Oaks has reopened to a full 18 holes among live oak trees and is a healthy alternative for those who like to walk. For information on the course's semi-weekly quota point matches, call Ken Beaulieu at 787-3690.

Dave Bradley, a local product of Clearwater High, returns to the area as head professional at Lansbrook after a stint as the director of golf at Glen Cruitten in Oban, Scotland. Bradley, 38, previously worked as an assistant pro at Bardmoor and Temple Terrace. Chris Karamitsos is the new director of golf at Lansbrook and Darryl Spelich has been appointed teaching pro.

CITY CHAMPIONSHIP: The women's division of the Skip Alexander City Championship tournament came down to a sudden-death playoff, as well as the men's.

After shooting an opening-round 78 at Mangrove Bay, Kathy Speight of Feather Sound Country Club had a comfortable six-stroke lead going into the final round, with Mary Ann Petrillo of Tierra Verde her closest pursuer. Playing in the same group, Petrillo shot a 4-over 76 the final day to force the playoff.

Petrillo nearly drove the 280-yard 10th hole _ the first playoff hole _ when she played it during the second round, but this time hooked it behind a tree and had to play safely back into the fairway. Speight drove pin high to the left fringe and chipped from 30 feet to within an inch for a birdie and the win.

"It was the only chip shot I hit all day," Speight claimed. "I'm pleased to have won but disappointed that I blew a six-stroke lead. I was glad to have hung on in the rain. That made it difficult as well as playing against a friend in a playoff."

Speight, 37, who has reduced her handicap from 27 three years ago when she began playing seriously to a current 3, hopes to play professionally. "I want to be the oldest rookie on the LPGA Tour," she said, "and would like to start by playing on the Futures Tour as an amateur starting next year."

Doug Root successfully defended his men's city title in a five-hole playoff with senior phenom Phil Leckey. They tied after 36 holes with 2-over 146s.

COMPETITION: The West Coast Women's Golf Association held its annual Mother Lassing tournament last week at River Wilderness in Bradenton and Mary Gilchrist of East Lake was the big winner with a 36-hole net total of 140. She overcame a four-stroke lead by Jennifer Adams of Countryside, who had a net 68 after 18 holes with her 7-handicap.

Sharon Gonsalves of Palma Ceia, who has won the WCWGA title seven of the last nine years, advanced to the quarterfinals of the USGA Senior Amateur at Charleston, S.C., last week before losing.

Jeannie Swanson won Flight A of the Oct. 17 WCWGA match at her home course, Lakewood, with an 82 for a five-stroke margin over Susan Riggins.

Cheryl Bronson won the Ladies Club Championship at Countryside with rounds of 79-83_182. Caroline Monroe took net honors with 72-73_145.

Buddy Alexander, the Florida Gators golf coach and former St. Petersburg resident, advanced to the second round of match play at the USGA Mid-Amateur at Dallas last week before he was eliminated. He won the U.S. Amateur in 1986. Alexander is the son of Skip Alexander, the former PGA Tour player and Lakewood Country Club pro who died Saturday at age 79.

COMING UP: The NFL Alumni, Suncoast Chapter, will hold the Legends of Pro Football NFL Alumni Charity Classic at 11 a.m. Monday at the Bayou Club. Hall of Famer Otto Graham, George Mira, Ted Hendricks and Ed "Too Tall" Jones are scheduled to play. The entry fee is $500. To register, call 527-0130.

Thursday's scheduled County Golf Association match at Lost Oaks of Innisbrook has been changed to a 9 a.m. shotgun start at Belleair's West Course. Call 577-4515.

The Chi Chi and the Zinger CertainTeed Kids Classic will be at Cypress Run and the Chi Chi course in Clearwater on Nov. 9-10. Call 726-8829.

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