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Code red: Eagle means medal for Chief junior

The coaches were incredulous. The players dejected. Hole No. 14 was eating the field up at Tampa Bay Golf and Country Club, and it was evident on everyone's face Monday as they returned to the clubhouse.

Then came the stories: about the two kids who shot 16s on the hole; about the one who had heat exhaustion and had to stop playing _ right at 14; about another player who threw up on the hole _ literally.

But this was coach Frank George's favorite story: Jeremy Code eagled the hole. And he earned medalist honors and all but clinched the Class 6A, District 7 championship for Chamberlain as the Chiefs shot 319.

Code, who finished with 74, and Akio Sadakata, who shot 75, paced Chamberlain. Plant, which shot 329 and Gaither, which finished at 331, were second and third. The Chiefs advance to next Wednesday and Thursday's Class 6A State Tournament in Sarasota for the fourth straight year.

The Chiefs had two of the three golfers that shot 70s _ the other was Plant's Mike Shea (76) _ and may have clinched on 14, a 480-yard par 5 with two doglegs that Code had no trouble with.

After hearing about how a player hitting in the group ahead of him had sent five tee shots out of bounds, the Chief junior "decided to play it safe" by hitting a 2-iron off the tee. He hit it so well, though, that instead of laying up as he had planned he pulled out a 3-iron and went for the green. He almost made it, settling his approach on the fringe, where he chipped it in for an eagle.

"Oh man, was that ever something," George said. "That really gave us a boost there."

Code passed Sadakata on the hole and never lost his lead. He added a birdie on 17 when he dropped in an 8-foot putt, and reversed last year's district finish when he settled for second.

"I was hitting my knock down shots pretty good and I was able to keep my concentration, which is kind of hard in a 6-hour round," Code said. "I was very happy with my round today. It was one of the best rounds I have played."