The Times' 2006 Pinellas County high school player of the year is continuing her winning ways.
Seminole High junior Meghan Chapman didn't just win last weekend's girls title at the Innisbrook Easter tournament, she finished the 14 strokes ahead of co-runnerups Dakoda Dowd of Palm Harbor and A.J. Newell of Tampa.
Chapman shot steady rounds of 75-73-74 for 6-over 222 on the tree-lined Island course. She attributed her success, in part, to executing a lot of recovery shots the first day that led to saves, which in turn gave her a lot of confidence going into the second and final rounds.
"I'm an up-and-down player and that first day I had to battle all day to score (well) and my success carried over the next two days," she said. "My short game helped my scoring plus I've been struggling to getting my swing on the right plane and I think I've finally got it right."
The win at Innisbrook was the second in a row for Chapman. In December, she won the girls title in the Christmas Junior Classic.
Chapman has her sights on a Florida Junior Tour event later this month.
Dowd shot 75 in her second round but opening with 81 and closing with 80 for 236 created the gap with the winner. Newell is an eighth-grader at Northside Christian who also shows promise. She earned Times' first-team honors last fall along with teammates Morgan Jackson and Ryan Ashburn, who since has transferred to Indian Rocks Christian.
In the boys 14-18 division, Countryside Country Club member Mike Baskovich shot 72 with three birdies in the second round to take the lead. While he closed with 76, John Welden of Pilot Mountain, N.C., finished with a rush (70) to win by two strokes at 223. Baskovich, a junior at Calvary Christian and a Times' first-teamer in 2006, captured second over a strong bay area field. Rick Kittlelstad of Lutz and Taylor Szyndlar of Jupiter tied for third.
AMERICAN JUNIORS: Four Pinellas girls qualified for the prestigious Mizuno Junior at Chateau Elan in Braselton, Ga., last weekend and earned national ranking points in the American Junior Golf Association. The local cast was headed by Evan Jensen of Belleair, who was on a roll when the third round ended after just nine holes due to nasty weather conditions.
By closing with a birdie-4 on her 45th hole for 1-under 35, Jensen secured third place among 45 international players with 187. She opened with rounds of 73-79.
Largo High teammate Andrea Messer tied for 19th, shooting 83-73-41-197 to tie Brooke Pancake of Chattanooga, Tenn. Oldsmar's Whitney Wenglasz tied for 36th with 85-82-40-207, a stroke ahead of Courtney Harter of Clearwater.
NATIONAL AMATEUR: In one of the top events of the year, the Azalea Amateur in Charleston, S.C., St. Petersburg's Mike Barbosa rallied from an opening 78 with scores of 75-70-73 for 295. Webb Simpson of Wake Forest beat Florida Gator Billy Horschel for the title in a two-hole playoff after tying at 278.
COLLEGES: Freshman Danielle Jackson (Northside Chr.) led (78-77-77-232) Stetson in scoring at the Ryder College Challenge at Miami Lakes. The USF women, headed by medalist Christina Jones (77-73-72-222), won the 12-team event.
CGA: Jeff Pett and Claud Johnston turned out to be the better foul weather players on Monday at St. Petersburg Country Club. They shot 1-under 71 in a better-ball match for the win. In the senior division, Don Sherer and Jim Barber combined for 72, one stroke better than Ray Ludwin and Tony Spada. Kurt Demarr and John Munk shot 63 net to edge Jerry MacDonald and Ron Milne by a stroke. The women's net title was won (70) by Margaret Joyce and Lina Lavine.