It may take Frank Saxon a few days to forget about the fourth hole at Cypress Run, scene of this week's State Senior Amateur Match Play Championship.

Saxon, 56, a Clearwater insurance agent and reigning champion of the County Golf Association, was playing Berger Warner of Ocala in a semi-match for the right to face Bruce Scamehorn of Winter Haven for the title.

After tying with pars on the first three holes, the friendly rivals faced the No. 1 handicapped hole on the manicured course, the 400-yard par-4 fourth.

Both Saxon and Warner may have had some uncertainty about the hole because it was the only hole on the front nine they bogeyed in the match. The first time they played it, they hit the green in two but were short while the pin was far back. The result - both three-putted on the fast green.

Saxon opted for a 5-iron instead of the 6-iron he used the first time. He said he wanted to ensure he reached the back of the green to have a chance for a one-putt for the birdie and the win.

But he pulled the ball long and left into the rough with a tough, downhill lie. Saxon eased a soft wedge shot to the sloping green, which settled 20 feet past the pin. After Warner hit a delicate putt to within inches for a par concession, Saxon's attempt to save par and the match narrowly slipped past the cup.

"I probably should have hit my 6-iron again on that fourth hole approach shot," Saxon said. "I made some swing adjustments this week and on that shot on the final playoff hole I just came over the top of the ball.

"I putted well in the tournament but I was struggling with my irons on the back nine. Actually, I should have won the match on the first playoff hole where I had a 7-footer for the birdie and the win. On balance, I'm disappointed with the outcome but I enjoyed the match at the same time."

One critical shot in the match was Saxon's 40-yard approach on the 570-yard par-5 16th, which he saw roll into the cup for eagle. Another was Warner's 6-foot putt for par on 18 to extend the match.

"When I stood over that crucial putt I said to myself that I'd made that a thousand times both on the practice putting greens and in matches," said Warner, 57, who plays to a zero handicap. "I could have said that if I missed it the match would be over. But that's negative thinking; I try to avoid that in all situations."

RECAP: Saxon won't have to wait to revisit Cypress Run, a tree-lined course he described as "gorgeous" with greens that are true. On Monday and Tuesday he'll tee it up on the same course with the young tigers in a 36-hole U.S. Amateur qualifier, one of nine sites across the state where the Florida State Golf Association is conducting preliminary tests for the 106th championship on Aug. 21-27 at Hazeltine National in Chaska, Minn.

Jeremy Evans, 19, of Palm Harbor, is one of those "young tigers." He won the 54-hole Innisbrook Amateur Championship over a sterling field earlier this month. College-bound (Nova) P.J. Kolosvary, 18, of Oldsmar is another hungry player on the rise.

Edoardo Molinari of Italy is the U.S. Am defending champion. Charles Macdonald won the opener in 1895. In 1986, St. Petersburg native Buddy Alexander won when there were 4,069 entries.

U.S. GIRLS JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP: Both Dakoda Dowd of Palm Harbor and Clearwater's Courtney Harter lost their first-round matches in Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday. Both are former Times all-Pinellas first team members. Dowd, who is a member at Cypress Run, played for Northside Christian when it won the 2004 state Class A championship. Harter will be a senior at Palm Harbor University this fall. Both advanced from a field of 156 qualifiers to the low 64 for match play in the Girls Championship.

PRO WOMEN: Seminole's Brittany Lincicome will be in France next week playing in the Evian Masters, a smaller, elite-field event with no cut, meaning everyone finishes in the money.

Tom Lincicome, Brittany's father who caddied and coached her through the recent Women's World Match Play Championship, will again be on the bag.

Paula Creamer of Bradenton won the lucrative event near Lake Geneva last year at age 18 and brought home $375,000, helping her advance to No. 2 on the 2005 money list and earn LPGA Rookie of the Year honors.

Lincicome traveled to Europe as an amateur and member of the Solheim Junior Team in 2003. She hopes to return next year as a pro member of the U.S. team when it takes on the European pros in Halmstad, Sweden, in September. The 12-member team is selected based on points earned by tour wins and top-20 finishes.

STATE WOMEN'S STROKE PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP: Dunedin's Lara Smilnak, a junior at Boston College, posted rounds of 86-82-79--247 in West Palm Beach. Sharla Cloutier won by 10 strokes (72-69-73--214) over Susan Cohn.

CGA: Jeff Pett and John King of Tampa teamed up for a better-ball score of 1-over 73 and the win at East Lake Woodlands on Monday. However, J.R. Robertson of Belleair and Dick Ptomey of Tampa went two-strokes better, winning the senior division with a 71.

FIRST TEE OF ST. PETE: Alexandra Franzese, playing in the girls 10-12 division, shot 78 on the par-55 Pinecrest course in Largo to win over runnerup Victoria Rozner, with a 93.

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