SEBRING – The second Heartland Golf Open Qualifier drew golfers from across Highlands County to Sun ‘N Lake Golf Club.

The Highlands News-Sun and Highlands Little Theatre sponsored Saturday’s event. Under overcast skies and with a slight wind competitors played for a spot in the Heartland Golf Open Championship Tournament that will be held at Pinecrest Golf Club in September.

The Heartland Golf Open is a points format. A double-eagle is worth 7 points, eagle is 5, birdie is 3, par is 2 and bogey is 1. There was a hole-in-one contest on hole No. 2 for a chance to win a Club Car from A2Z Custom Carts but unfortunately no one was able to make an ace.

A total of 30 golfers, 20 men and 10 women, participated in Saturday’s qualifier on the Deer Run course at Sun ‘n Lake Golf Club and a total of 17 players advanced to the Championship Tournament.

There were 12 men and five women who scored the most points to move on to the championship round.

In the men’s division, Daniel Black finished first with a total of 44 points. Nate Cervantes placed second with 42. Dan Coomes, Ricky Weppler and Joseph Festa III all tied for third with 40.

Other men’s qualifiers were Tom Hokenson with 37 and Jose Jimenez with 36. Omar DeJesus, Mike Wexler, Bill Driscoll, Mike Hurley and Joseph Festa Sr. all qualified with 35.

“I did okay,” said Tom Hokenson. “I scrambled very well. I didn’t have any open holes and I scored 37 points. I shot pretty close to my handicap so I am happy. The course was in pretty good shape. We had a couple bumps on the green but it was the same for everyone so it was fine. This is my first year doing the Heartland Golf Open. I knew the finals are going to be at Pinecrest and I work there so I decided to try this tournament. I am happy that I made it. This tournament is fun, it is a nice group of people and it was a nice day. I had a good time. I will play at Pinecrest a few times to get ready for the Championship Tournament.”

The women’s division winner was Cathy Brown with 41 points. Bonnie Lennox came in second with 39. Kay Maher and Joann Pierce tied for third with 36. Lynda Krull will also advance with 34.

“I thought the Heartland Golf Open was a lot of fun,” Krull said. “We were blessed with the weather because the sun was hidden most of the time so it was nice weather to play in. I played in the Heartland Golf Open last year and I qualified today for the Championship Tournament. I came back again this year because it is a great venue, there are a lot of nice people, I’ve never played in tournament with points and I like it. I think the points make it fair for everybody. This is just a terrific tournament and I really enjoyed it. The course was in great shape, really pretty and I thought the greens rolled really well. I am going to cross my fingers for the Championship Tournament at Pinecrest.”

Those that did not qualify at the first two events will have two more chances. The next event will be held at Sebring Golf Club on Saturday, Aug. 3. The final qualifier will take place at River Greens Golf Course on Saturday, Sept. 7.

The cost to participate in a qualifier is $30 for members and $40 for non-members of that course. It will be an additional $30 to play in the championship tournament.

A 5-day cruise for two goes to the men’s division winner and to the women’s division winner. The Championship Prize sponsor is Cruise and Tour Supermarket.

To register please contact Cliff Yeazel at 863-386-5844.


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