Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

High School Classic Ends as 9-Hole Event

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

High School Classic Ends as 9-Hole Event

Article excerpt

Byline: BILL JOHNSON

The weather officially stripped Joey Keene of his round of 68, but it couldn't strip him or his Fleming Island teammates of the Boys Clay County High School Classic championship Tuesday.

About 10 minutes after Keene walked off the 18th green of Eagle Landing with the lowest round of the first two groups of players, nearby bolts of lightning sent coaches scurrying to get their players off the Eagle Landing course.

The bad elements forced the coaches to decide the tournament's outcome with nine-hole scores instead of 18, because all but seven of the 40-player field could not finish.

Fortunately for Keene, he stroked equal halves of 34, so reverting to the nine-hole score did not cost him his first-ever championship, nor did it cost his Golden Eagles.

Fleming Island's team won with a composite score of 151. Clay came in second at 161, followed by Orange Park (167), St. Johns (170), Middleburg (174), Keystone Heights (211) and Ridgeview (211).

Clay coach Jock Bush said the team championship would have gone to the Golden Eagles even if all the players had been able to finish all 18 holes.

In fact, Bush said that while his Blue Devils wouldn't be "satisfied" with coming in second, they were "tickled to death" that they did.

"Last year, we were last" Bush said. "We were losing matches by 20, 30, 40 strokes."

This year the Blue Devils improved their games and also had the help of Fleming Island transfer Thomas Modlin, who took third place Tuesday with a 36.

"Some of it was Thomas, of course, but the rest of the team probably trimmed off about 20 points from last year," Bush said.

Fleming Island's Brian Newman gave the Golden Eagles a one-two punch, finishing in second place with a 35, only one stroke behind Keene.

Brian Mills, Zack Salsman and Robert West all scored 41s to help give the Eagles the team victory. (Only two of those 41s counted in the four-score total of 151; the top four scores from each team's five golfers were counted). …

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