One grind is over for one Pinellas pro golfer. Another begins in two weeks.
Palm Harbor's Bob Heintz qualified for the Nationwide Tour Championship, which ended Sunday in Alabama. Only a win could have catapulted him into a top-20 finish on the money list and a return to the PGA Tour for 2004.
However, he tied for for 45th with rounds of 77-73-71-74_295 and only advanced to a second-stage qualifier in this fall's PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament.
"I had to play well in eight consecutive tournaments to qualify for the championship," said Heintz, 33, who played at Countryside High and Yale. "I gave it my all in those tournaments and didn't have much left for the Alabama tournament; I was physically fatigued."
Heintz led the Nationwide Tour in putting this season with 27.67 per round. His driving distance, averaging 297.2 yards, placed him 48th. His longest was 370. On the money list, he finished 44th with $104,903.
Heintz's top-55 finish on the money list ensures fully-exempt status on the tour next season, but he hopes to advance from the sectional qualifier, in two weeks at World Golf Village in St. Augustine, to the Q-School finals. An estimated 18-25 will move on to the finals, where 35 will earn spots on the 2004 PGA Tour.
"I've never played the King and The Bear course in St. Augustine," Heintz said. "But my former caddie, Andy Goodwin, has and I'm going to get in touch with him and ask him to caddie for me for it. That would be a big help."
Goodwin, a Clearwater resident who also played for Countryside High, played this year on the Hooters and Golden Bear tours.
PGA TOUR QUALIFIER: Clearwater High graduate Ryan Gildersleeve tied for 10th at a first-stage qualifier for the 2004 PGA Tour at The Oaks in Mass Christian, Miss., to advance. He shot 69-72-73-69 for a 5-under 283. Gildersleeve qualified for the NCAA Championships last spring and earned all-America honorable mention honors playing for South Alabama. He may try to qualify for the finals in Panama City Nov. 12-15, another 72-hole test.
COLLEGES: Notre Dame hosted its 54-hole adidas Fall Invitational at Lansbrook, Oct. 19-21, and finished sixth of 14 women's teams.
Baylor won by a stroke, 888 to Missouri's 889, led by Swedish sophomore Josefin Svenningson. She shot 69-71-70 for a 6-under 210 to capture medalist honors. Her 69 was the lowest 18-hole score in Baylor women's history as was the team score of 888.
Baylor returns to the Sunshine State in February to play in the Michigan State Invitational in Parrish.
Lansbrook general manager Tim Greco said the club hopes to host the adidas tournament again next year.
+ USF's Brad Quiri (East Lake High) continued his strong play, pacing the Bulls to a one-stroke victory over Jacksonville State at last week's Fall Beach Classic in Gulf Shores, Ala. Quiri shot 11-under 205 (69-69-67) to finish second. In two previous fall tournaments, he finished third and fifth for the Bulls.
Former high school teammate Ryan Shears was third for the Bulls at the Alabama tournament with rounds of 70-67-72 at the par-72 Gulf Shores Country Club.
CLUB CHAMPION: Mary Critchfield defended her Bayou Club title in a 54-hole tournament. She shot 79-80-81_240 to win by nine strokes over Leslie Roberts.
JUNIORS: An 80 by Whitney Wenglasz of Oldsmar won the girls 13-15 division of the Greater Tampa JGA's match at Westchase. T.J. Adipietro of Tampa was second (87) and Seminole's Meghan Chapman (90) third. Zach Sobel of Tarpons Springs won the boys 12-13 division with 74.
In a nine-hole tournament at Silver Dollar, Taylor Hancock of Clearwater won the boys 9-11 division with 39, one stroke up on M.J. Maguire of St. Petersburg and three better than Sterling Bash of Palm Harbor. Alexis Harter of Clearwater finished second (57) in the same age division to Samantha Marks of Maitland, who had 49.
COMING UP: The County Golf Association holds its annual championship Nov. 14-15 at Fox Hollow. Dalan Farran of New Port Richey won last year, followed by Chris Keeley and former Toronto Blue Jays pitcher John Cerutti, who won the title in 2000. John King of Tampa defends his senior title.
For information about entry into the 26th annual event, call Ray or Jayne Goodman at 530-7226 in Clearwater.
+ East Lake Woodlands hosts the November match of the Pinellas Men's Interclub Association at 12:30 on the 13th. Seminole Lake and Countryside country clubs are tied for first after two matches of the 2003-04 season.
+ The third Tampa Bay Putting Championship hosts qualifying events in the area this month, December and January with the finals scheduled for March. For entry information, call (813) 996-3707. Cindy Hall of Clearwater won the 2002 title. Tampa's Joe Davi won in 2003.
BACK IN BUSINESS: Feather Sound reopened Friday after six months of extensive renovations to the greens, tee boxes and bunkers. Chad O'Dell is the new head pro; he came from the Peachtree Golf Club in Atlanta where he served as first assistant.