Pro/Am kicks off Ocala Open

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By Amy Ryffel-Kragh

Thirty-two teams made their way to the Candler Hills Golf Club at the On Top of the World communities this week. Each professional golfer teamed up with three amateurs for the kickoff of the third-annual Ocala Open.

For the teams, the day started with registration and a continental breakfast. At 9 a.m., it was time to tee off.

Before he headed for the first hole, OTOW resident Phil Moherak was already a winner. Nine players in the club’s men’s golf association put in $50, which amounted to the $450 entry fee for amateurs – and the name drawn from a hat would play in the tournament.

Moherak’s name was the winner. As far as how he thought his team would fare for the day, he said, “I think our chances are excellent.” And he said he wanted to be in the tournament for fun.

During the tournament, Barbara Carbaugh, media relations specialist for OTOW, said she went out on the course and received “many positive comments” about the event. Carbaugh also heard feedback from players like, “You really know how to treat us.”

Hooters Tour player Kevin Hall said he wanted to play in the Ocala Open because there are a lot of good players in the event. Hall, who is deaf, has a lot of accomplishments of his own.

In addition to winning a Hooters event, the 25-year-old has made two cuts on the Nationwide Tour. He is also an accomplished bowler.

While waiting for the scores to be announced, one group kicked back in the outside courtyard area. Their team was made up of three OTOW residents, Garry Gerlach, Paul Fratarangelo, Bruce Venslavsky and professional golfer from Jacksonville, Charles Raulerson.

Gerlach, who had never played in a pro/am event, said of his group, “We had a great time.”

In addition to having a great time, the foursome sang praises about the event. Venslavsky complimented OTOW president Kenneth Colen for making the event “first class.” Raulerson agreed, “It was a nice event,” he said.

Fratarangelo praised the volunteers who turned out. “They stepped up and gave up their time.” Raulerson concurred saying, “You can’t live without them.” The Ocala Open had more than 200 volunteers help with the tournament.

Once all the teams had turned in their scorecards it was time to determine the winner. The team of Guy Woolbright, Robert Irvin, Tom Krackenberg and Hall were the winners of the pro/am event.

Their winning score was 105 with a low gross of 60 and a low net of 45. Hall shot a round of 64.

The low pro for the tournament was nationwide tour player Matt Every, who shot a round of 63. Every tied course record holder and 2007 Ocala Open winner, Rod Perry, with the round of 63.

After the golf event, players sipped cocktails and enjoyed dinner and entertainment.

The Ocala Open will go through this Friday, with professional golfers playing Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The pro tournament had a field of 144 players, with a purse of $100,000.

Contact Amy Ryffel-Kragh at 854-3986 or akragh@newsrlsmc.com .