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EAGLE HELPS SHARKS' MCCONNELL MOVE ON

After posting double bogey and bogey on the 14th and 15th holes at the Class 2A, Region 4 championship at Wentworth Golf Club, Riverview's Ian McConnell knew he would need to conjure something special to have any chance of advancing to his second consecutive state tournament.

Two holes later Monday, McConnell's moment arrived.

The Sharks junior eagled the par-5 No. 17, almost holing his second shot from 220 yards. That put McConnell at 1 over through 17, and after parring the final hole he came into the clubhouse with 72 to finish second and earn one of two individual berths for the state tournament.

"I was trying to hit my drive as hard as I could, take one good swing at it," McConnell said of the 17th hole. "I hit probably my best drive of the day, down to about 220. I tried to cut a 3-wood and hold it up in the wind and it landed almost in the hole about an inch away and rolled to within 6 feet away."

McConnell's round was about the only positive note for Hillsborough County golfers. Plant, paced by Doug Letson's 74, failed to send a golfer to state for the first time since 2005 after Dunedin (332) edged the Panthers (333) by one stroke for second.

Paced by Gary Buffington's 79, Chamberlain (346) placed fifth out of nine teams. King (351) was sixth, Gaither (352) seventh, Newsome (353) eighth and Plant City (361) ninth.

East Lake, led by medalist Linzy Clark, who shot even-par 71, will make second consecutive trip to the state after posting 320.

Palm Harbor University's Matt Cote (73) earned the region's other individual berth.

A-5: Wind spoils day for county golfers

SEMINOLE - Some golfers had iron shots that never reached the green. Others felt the wind change in the middle of their swing.

Blustery wind that swirled from all corners fooled some of Hillsborough County's top golfers and turned the Class A, District 5 meet at the Bayou Club into a test of patience.

Hardly anyone survived playing bogey-free. And with the wind and the scores up, county teams spent all day chasing the leaders.

It wasn't enough as Hillsborough did not have a team or an individual qualify for next week's state meet.

Berkeley Prep came the closest, finishing third with 326. Jesuit was right behind at 327.

Blake Morris shot 77 and Kiran Ligham 79 to lead the Buccaneers.

Shorecrest's Jack Maguire shot 70 to win individual honors.

"The wind was tough because it kept changing directions every two or three holes," said Maguire, who had two bogeys on the front nine and all pars on the back nine, including three birdies.

Calvary Christian won the team title, shooting 304 to beat out St. Petersburg Catholic (317).

The Warriors' Taylor Hancock shot 33 on the back nine, including four birdies, to finish with a team-best 73. Lee McCoy (75) and Matt Brookins (76) also finished in the 70s.

Bob Putnam, Times staff writer

p next

State golf

When: Oct. 28-29

Class A: at the Golf Club at Bridgewater, North Lakeland

Class 2A: at Providence Golf & Country Club, Davenport

*Tee times have not been set

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