Do winter residents from northern states have an advantage playing in cold weather in Florida?
Based on a limited study - the results of Monday's County Golf Association match at Countryside - the answer is an emphatic yes.
Illinois residents who won the seniors better-ball competition hardly noticed the weather even though the start was delayed due to frosty conditions by tournament director Ray Goodman.
Jim Hunter, 70, and Gil Day, 58, actually enjoyed the day as they put together a bogey-free round of 4-under 68 to win by two strokes over the team of Ron Chittle and Wayne Wiseman.
"We had a good round on a cool day but we hardly noticed the weather," said Day, a native of Hamilton, Illinois, who plays to a 5 handicap. "Overall, we thought it was very pleasant."
Goodman, also an Illinois native (Decatur), said the key to playing in cold weather is to wear light layers, including a wind jacket and a hat. He peels them off if and when it gets warmer.
Day said that in the 15 years he and Hunter have been pairing up in better-ball matches, it was the first time he could recall not having to record a bogey. They had four birdies.
"I shot 74 on my own ball but Jim covered my bogeys with pars every time," said Day, a former winner of the CGA's annual championship in the senior division. "The four birdies I made were the result of two from 15 feet, one tap-in from a foot and a long one from the fringe."
Decker Todd and Juice Ahearn of Tarpon Woods captured the open division with a 67. That edged 2006 CGA champions Rich Volcko and Mike Sanderson of Homosassa by a stroke.
In net scoring on the Bayhead and Lake courses at Countryside, Pete Yore and Del Gangelhoff won with 61. Al Kivlin and Tom Brennan tied Ron Morrison and AJ Finales at 62.
Charlotte Purcell teamed with Carolyn Murphy for the women's division win with a net 69.
FSGA WINTER SERIES: Dunedin's Ken Palladino traveled to MetroWest in Orlando last weekend for a state Winter Series event. Playing in the 40-54 age group, he carded rounds of 78-75-153. That put him in a three-way tie for third in the field of 21. In the longest playoff in Winter Series history, Mark Weston (Windemere) birdied the fifth extra hole to win the division. He and Jim Weick of Fort Lauderdale had tied at 3-over 147. Weston drained a 10-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to win the match.
STATE TOURNEYS: The State Senior Amateur Championship will be April 10-12 at TPC at Eagle Trace in Coral Springs. Wednesday is the entry deadline. Register online at www.fsga.org/championships.
The State Club Team Championship will be May 5-6 at Stonegate in Poinciana. Entries close April 4. Isleworth Country Club is the defending champion.
HOOTERS TOURS: Clearwater's Jenny Gleason added to her money-leading total with a third-place finish in an event at Ocoee. She shot 74-74-69-217.
In a men's event at Apopka, Ryan Gildersleeve, a 1999 graduate of Clearwater High with Gleason, tied for 10th with rounds of 72-69-69-210. He finished four strokes ahead of Kyle McCarthy of South Pasadena.
COLLEGE: Jason Elliott, a junior at USF by way of Palm Harbor University High, finished second for the Bulls at this week's PapaJohns Championship in Miami Lakes. The Bulls placed 10th in the 18-team, 54-hole event, led by Tyler Hitchcock of Orlando.
Elliott, a former Times high school player of the year, shot 70-73-79-222.
The Bulls' next competition will be March 2-4 in the Ron Smith-USF Invitational at Lake Jovita Country Club in Dade City.
WEST COAST WOMEN: Pat Rogers of Tampa Palms captured Flight AA honors at Dunedin Country Club on Thursday with an 81, two strokes up on Jeanne Rothe of Sarasota. Cathy Schlend of East Lake Woodlands prevailed in net scoring with 73, one up on WCWGA president Vickie Stafford of Cypress Run.
In Flight A, Cathy Moss carded the day's best round of 80, followed by Cindy Kahle of Cypress Run at 84. Flight B was dominated by Miko Matics of Buckhorn Springs (81) and Cheryl Kinnebrew of Clearwater (83).
Innisbrook's Carrie Bell took second in Flight C with a 92. Flight D's winner was Nancy Strite with a 90, one stroke better than Northdale's Cathryn Myers.
Times correspondent Dave Theall can be reached at 734-1325.