AMATEUR GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP

Leader keeps streak rolling

The teenage son of the UF golf coach is leading the county tournament, which concludes today at the Gainesville Golf & Country Club.


Published: Sunday, August 1, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, August 1, 2004 at 12:58 a.m.
Life has been a series of one-foot tap-ins and fist pumps for Tyson Alexander lately.
Earlier last week, Alexander, a rising junior at Buchholz, played his way into the U.S. Amateur at Winged Foot. And Saturday at the University of Florida course, the 16-year-old son of the Gator golf coach finished the first round of the Alachua County Amateur Golf Championships with an even-par 70, good for a one-shot lead over Mike Batten.
"I feel like I've been hitting the ball really well," said Alexander, who birdied holes three and 17 and bogeyed five and eight. "I didn't putt too well. (If I had, I probably would have shot) a 68 or 67."
To win the same tournament his father, Buddy, captured in 1995, Alexander will have to hold off Batten, Ben Osbrach, 1996 and 2003 champion Tom Lapcevic, Brian Sachs and Luke Bietila, all of whom enter the final round today at the Gainesville Golf & Country Club within six shots of the lead.
"I feel really good, absolutely," said Batten, an Air Force ROTC instructor at UF who will tee off in the 9:28 a.m. leaders' group. "I think I have a good shot at it, but I hope I didn't play myself out the first day. The course over there is pretty tough, so I'll have to play well."
Alexander's father is competing this weekend at the U.S. Senior Open in St. Louis.
After one day, the seven-player ladies title chase was shaping up similarly to 2003's tournament.
Then, Sara May held a five-shot lead over Pamela Shelley and overcame a final-round 73 by Shelley to win by two strokes.
Now, Shelley enters Sunday having opened with a 75, three strokes ahead of May, and seven better than Gabi Aguirre and Cheri Hurt. Both Shelley and May, who has two seconds and a first in the last three years, are scheduled to tee off at 7:38 a.m. today.
"I didn't hit the ball very well (Saturday), but I played smart," said Shelley, 21, a former Santa Fe High School golfer now competing at Jacksonville University. "Hopefully, I can do both (today). After what happened last year, making a strong comeback, I feel pretty confident heading into the morning."
You can reach John Patton by calling 374-5074 or by e-mail at pattonj@gvillesun.com.

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