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State win provides a confidence boost

Seminole's Brittany Lincicome, winner of the state high school Class 2A girls title last week, has an even more challenging duel on her schedule this fall. It's the Polo Junior Classic at Walt Disney World, Nov. 24-30, an American Junior Golf Association major.

Not only will she again face the best juniors from Florida, but also the best all the way from California along with a few international stars.

Last year Lincicome made it to the second round of match play before losing to eventual runner-up Nicole Hage of Coral Springs. She says the win at state plus a second at the Rolex Junior Invitational gives her more confidence going into this year's Polo.

"My all-around game is much better than it was last year." she said.

She earned AJGA all-America first-team honors this year.

Lincicome said the biggest problem securing the high school win was overcoming the weather. Starting at 8 a.m., on Wednesday, she birdied the first two holes before it started to rain and the wind picked up.

In one important way, she was prepared. Her father, Tom, had checked the forecast and had the right foul-weather gear for her.

Her 2-over 74 coupled with her opening round of 69 for a 143 gave her the title by three strokes over Lindsey Bergeon of Sarasota Riverview.

PGA TOUR: Financial report cards on the 2002 season are in and Clearwater's John Huston tops Pinellas regulars, finishing 45th with $1,299,053 in official earnings.

Greg Kraft, weak with an illness much of the year, finished 171st with $222,614. He and Bob Heintz (192nd; $127,346) returned to second-stage events of the tour's qualifying tournament last week in Orlando.

Kraft finished tied for sixth with a 15-under 273 (69-68-69-67) to advance to the finals at PGA West in La Quinta, Calif., Dec. 4-7. Heintz shot 1-under and didn't advance.

"I played perfectly not taking any unnecessary chances," said Kraft, who lives in Feather Sound. "I made aggressive swings off the tee and conservative (swings) to positions on the green not always going for the pin. I'm really happy with the way I controlled the ball."

Kraft has battled a debilitating disease, commonly called Valley Fever, which saps his strength.

"I don't practice like I used to," Kraft said. "Hopefully, I'll be off the medication by the end of the year."

Although confident going into the final qualifying stage, Kraft said he's not taking it lightly.

"I know I belong out there on the PGA Tour; I've just got to go out there and get it done," he said.

Heintz finished first on the tour in putting with 27.57 putts per round. Huston tied for 40th in sand saves with a 54.8 percentage.

St. Petersburg's Dan Stone, a two-time NCAA all-American at Florida, qualified for the second stage of Q-School but did not advance from last week's regional in Kingwood, Texas.

SENIORS: Palm Harbor's Jay Overton finished 51st on the Senior PGA Tour winning $345,903. He's at World Woods in Brooksville this week competing in the Champions Tour's 2003 Qualifying Tournament.

COLLEGES: Jenny Gleason (Clearwater High), tied for 10th leading UNC-Greensboro to a 10th-place finish at the Edwin Watts/Palmetto Intercollegiate on Kiawah Island, S.C. with a 220.

Amanda Dick (Countryside) tied for 24th for the Florida Gators at the Auburn Tiger/Derby Invitational in Alabama. She shot 9-over 225.

Kyle Christman (Seminole) shot 3-over 75 for Winthrop University at the Old Dominion/Seascape Invitational in Kitty Hawk, N.C. He tied for 24th.

FORE/FOUR: For the fourth time in his golf career, Bill McCaskill of Tarpon Springs has been hit by an errant golf shot.

Playing at Clearwater Country Club last month, McCaskill was leaving the par-4, 361-yard seventh hole when he was hit in the temple by an approach shot from a guest from the Panhandle in a following group of five.

The injury knocked McCaskill unconscious. He was taken by helicopter to Bayfront Medical Center where he was treated and released.

McCaskill said he heard someone yell "fore" just as the ball hit him. The man who struck the ball was playing from behind a tree and couldn't see him, McCaskill added.

"I was hit right above the eye socket," McCaskill said. "I had a mild concussion and was given a CAT scan. The doctor said that if the ball hit an inch away from where it did I'd have been a dead man."

The next day, wearing a construction worker's hard hat, the 12-handicap golfer was back at the club joking, ready to play again.

The fourth hit on McCaskill, 73, a retired air conditioning businessman, ties his record of four holes-in-one.

"I'm more proud of the 25 eagles I've had in my golfing career," McCaskill said.

TRANSITION: Steve Bagley, director of golf at Cove Cay Country Club, has resigned effective Nov. 30. He will be replaced by current club head pro Bill Armstrong, 36, who has been at the club for six years.

Bagley said after 25 years as a pro at clubs in Massachusetts and Florida, he wants to ease up some and try a different career field, such as investments or real estate.

He has joined Wentworth Golf Club in East Lake where his fiancee, Lynda Jensen, is a member. She's a former Florida Women's State Amateur Champion playing under the name of Lynda Brown. She later played on the Futures Tour leaving as the leading money winner.

THIS GAME IS EASY: Joseph Lusardi was calm when his 5-iron tee shot on the 103-yard 17th hole at the Chi Chi Rodriguez course landed on the green and trickled into the cup.

"He wasn't excited at all," said Randy Cohen, the director of junior golf at the club who witnessed the rare feat. "Maybe he wanted to see it go in on the fly. But Joseph had only been playing the game for a month and I guess he didn't realize what he had accomplished."

Lusardi is a 9-year-old fourth-grader at Modesta-Robbins School, located at Chi Chi's.

MORE CHI CHI'S: The Chi Chi Silver Jubilee Kids Klassic was held Sunday and Monday (17&18) with special guest Fuzzy Zoeller.