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Gulf focused on district upset

Chamberlain will be favored and Plant is expected to contend for a district golf championship today. Sound familiar? It should, because Monday the Class 6A, District 7 boys finished in that order.

But it's the girls' turn, and Pasco County is hoping to throw a wrench into plans for another Hillsborough County sweep at today's 6A-7 district tournament on the Rolling Oaks course at World Woods.

Stopping Chamberlain and Plant will not be easy. But coach Jerry Young of Gulf isn't about to hand over the tournament trophy, not with his team coming off a Sunshine Athletic Conference title and playing some solid golf.

"We always have a chance to win," Young said. "That's the thing about golf."

Another thing about golf is avoiding high scores. That will be important today for the Bucs, who Young thinks have an outside chance to sneak in and earn an automatic berth in next week's state tournament.

Last season, the Bucs finished second behind Countryside at the district tournament. The top team and medalist advance to play in Sarasota next Wednesday.

"Our key will be to have Lindsay (Murvine) have her usual good round and have our 2, 3 and 4 golfers be steady," Young said. "No big numbers. That's the key."

The Bucs practiced at the course Monday. "They said they did all right," said Young.

The course at Rolling Oaks is a long one, similar in length to Fox Hollow. Both Gulf and River Ridge have played well in meets on long courses, particularly Murvine because she is a long hitter.

Murvine has been Pasco County's best golfer, winning all her matches against county competition except for Saddlebrook. She is averaging right around 40, and last week won SAC medalist honors with an 83 at Fox Hollow.

For the Bucs to have a chance, though, Jenn Barbookles, Brandy Karn and Christy Facemire will need to drop some strokes. If they can get into the 90s, Young feels very good about his team's chances.

"If that happens, we have a chance," he said. "Individually for Lindsay, I figure a 78 or 79 will win it, and she's capable of doing that."

Murvine will have to contend with Chamberlain's Whitney Code and Amanda Cooper and Plant's Elizabeth Stuart, who some say is Hillsborough's second-best player behind Bloomingdale All-American Beth Bauer. Stuart averaged just under 40 for nine holes.

River Ridge, however, could be Pasco's top finishing team. The Royal Knights have lost three times to Gulf this season, but each time it has been very close. At the SAC tournament, they finished five strokes back. That was with a 100 from Tracy Westley, who figures to shoot better.

Westley and Heather Beech (88 at the SAC) make up the area's best 1-2 punch, and Nicole Lynch shot a 98 at the SAC. If all three players can get in under 100, the Royal Knights would be in excellent shape.

Ridgewood's Alyssa Caughey made all-SAC after shooting a 93 and leads the Rams, who lack the depth to make a dent in today's standings, and Land O'Lakes also will compete.



WHERE: World Woods' Rolling Oaks Course in northern Hernando County.

WHEN: Today at 9:54 a.m.

SCHOOLS: Chamberlain, Gaither, Gulf, Hillsborough, Jefferson, King, Land O'Lakes, Leto, Plant, Ridgewood, River Ridge, Springstead, Tampa Bay Tech.

GIRLS TO WATCH: Lindsay Murvine, Jenn Barbookles, Brandy Karn, Christy Facemire (Gulf); Amanda Cooper, Whitney Code (Chamberlain); Mandy Alpaugh (King); Elizabeth Stuart (Plant); Heather Beech, Tracy Westley, Nicole Lynch (River Ridge), Alyssa Caughey (Ridgewood).