Consistently good for one of the lowest scores in the North Suncoast Junior Golf Association, Dade City's Kyle Pierson has finished second three weeks in a row.
Next week's 36-hole Tournament of Champions at World Woods Golf Club is his last chance at medalist honors, but a good one, if a practice round Saturday is any indication.
"I just haven't quite gotten there, always a stroke or two away," said Pierson, 17, a senior at Zephyrhills. "I feel like I've really come around a lot with my game this summer. I don't think I'd be playing nearly this well going into the high school season without this summer."
Pierson played World Woods' Pine Barrens course Saturday and shot 4-under-par 67, a score that would be hard to beat when the juniors tee off Monday and Tuesday.
"I just went up there to take a look and see how the course was, but I played pretty well," said Pierson, who followed with 75 on Monday at Black Diamond Ranch to miss medalist honors by a single stroke in the NSJGA's final regular-season event.
Five county golfers qualified among the 76 in next week's Champions field by finishing in the top three in their age group in a tournament this summer. Dade City's Cameron Knight and New Port Richey's R.C. Hyatt (Boys 14 Advanced), Zephyrhills' Erick Dokendorf (Boys Intermediate 13-18) and Wesley Chapel's Brandon Mumaw (Boys/Girls 8-9) will tee it up.
Dokendorf, 15, a sophomore at Zephyrhills, has fared well in his first year of NSJGA play. He shot 45 over nine holes Monday to win his age group for the third time in five tournaments and said one of the things he's enjoyed most about league play is trying new golf courses.
"Black Diamond, I really liked how it was laid out, the water and the sand, and the greens were really nice," Dokendorf said. "I'm looking forward to playing at World Woods."
Knight shot 79 at Black Diamond to tie Spring Hill's Austin Grey for first in the Boys 14 Advanced ranks, the sixth time he's finished with at least a share of first this summer.
After next week's play at World Woods, the NSJGA will convene at Sugarmill Woods Country Club for its postseason awards banquet. A player of the year and low-stroke award will be given in each of 11 age groups. In addition, one golfer will be chosen as the circuit's overall player of the year.
DIVOTS: Land O'Lakes' Todd Webster and Wesley Chapel's Peter Dachisen are among 90 players registered for the Florida State Golf Association's Public Links Championship next month at Southern Dunes Golf & Country Club in Haines City. In the North Florida Professional Golf Association's Club Professional Championship in Brooksville last week, Zephyrhills' Fred Bender missed qualifying for the national tournament by seven strokes with a two-round 152. New Port Richey's Brian Richter (153) and Wesley Chapel's Vince Buelk (154) were close behind, along with Zephyrhills' Tim Polce (161).