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Code leads a team effort

When you mention Chamberlain boys golf, the names of district medalists Jeff Powers, Ryudi Imada, Akio Sadakata come to mind.

Even Brett Hitchcock, a 1997 graduate who played on three straight district championship teams before making the Louisiana State team, can be brought up.

Here's a new name for the circle: 1998 district medalist Jordan Code.

With all eyes on Sadakata in last week's Class 6A, District 7 tournament at Tampa Bay Golf and Country Club in San Antonio, Code led the Chiefs to their fourth consecutive district crown with a low-round of 74. Sadakata, the defending district medalist, was one stroke behind Code, while teammates T.J. Heidel and freshman John Soler shot 84 and 86, respectively.

While Sadakata consistently hits the ball the farthest, none can match Code's short game.

"He's good with his irons and he's a good putter," Chamberlain coach Frank George said of Code.

Code's best hole in the district match was one that gave golfers the most trouble. Code, last year's district runner-up, eagled the 14th, where a couple of golfers shot 16s. Hearing that one player shanked five tee shots out of bounds on the 14th, Code teed off with a 2-iron.

Code's eagle coupled with Sadakata's triple bogey on the 15th hole clinched the medalist title.

As any accomplished golfer will attest, course management skills take time to develop.

"Code is, I guess with Akio and T.J., the hardest worker," George said. "They practice and hit balls seven days a week."

That practice paid off in the form of solid season averages for all three golfers. Sadakata and Heidel carried 36 averages, two strokes lower than Code.

"It's a team game at the high school level," George said. "Most of these guys are thinking of themselves individually, but Akio and T.J. were glad Code was the medalist. They're pulling for each other."

With such consistent players, one would think George would be excited about his team's prospects in the state meet Wednesday at Bent Tree Country Club in Sarasota. Depth, however, is a problem, and George does not feel this year's Chiefs are on the same plane as past district winners.

Chamberlain placed fourth in last year's state meet, was sixth in 1996 and fifth in 1995. George hopes the Chiefs can break into the top 10 this year.

Although his team expectations are modest, George said any of his top three golfers could be in the running for state medalist.

George will try to take his golfers to Sarasota a day ahead of time so they can familiarize themselves with the course. That strategy worked well in the district tourney.