Islanders fit to a tee at Owen Classic

Three long-time friends and members of the Southwest Florida Golf Charities, which sponsors the Bill Owen Classic, share a laugh and applause from the huge crowd at the awards dinner at Eagle Creek Golf & Country Club on Monday night. Famed golf professional and CBS analyst, Ken Venturi, left, formerly of Marco, Charities secretary Tom Mackelfresh of Marco and Irv Sherwood, Charities president, were honored for their efforts over the years in making the golf outing a huge success. The outing supports high school golf programs and scholarships for Collier County high school students, along with helping other charities.

Photo by ROGER LALONDE // Buy this photo

Three long-time friends and members of the Southwest Florida Golf Charities, which sponsors the Bill Owen Classic, share a laugh and applause from the huge crowd at the awards dinner at Eagle Creek Golf & Country Club on Monday night. Famed golf professional and CBS analyst, Ken Venturi, left, formerly of Marco, Charities secretary Tom Mackelfresh of Marco and Irv Sherwood, Charities president, were honored for their efforts over the years in making the golf outing a huge success. The outing supports high school golf programs and scholarships for Collier County high school students, along with helping other charities.

Marco Island golfers nearly made a clean sweep of the top awards in the 19th Annual Bill Owen Classic at Eagle Creek Golf & Country Club on Monday.

Former Islander Ken Venturi, famed professional golfer and CBS golf analyst, gave his Venturi Cup for the low gross score of the day to Islanders Dave Stonier, Bob Dugan, Pat Bennett and Ryan Baker. They tied for low gross, shooting a 58 along with two other foursomes. A mathematical tiebreaker gave them the title.

Islanders Ed and Cindy Cohen and Cliff and Connie Kirvan won the couples low net score with a 58 to earn beautifully wooden-carved trophies with men and women golfers in action.

The other top award, the Bill Owen Cup for low net score, went to Phil Cole, Jim Lindsay, Gene Feiger and Jim Barton, totaling 57.6 on the 18-hole course. They also won uniquely-designed bracelets, made by Marco’s Eric Schilling, owner of Schilling Jewelers.

“We had a great ham and egg match,” Stonier said of his team’s win. “It seemed one player picked up the rest on many of the holes. The wind also died down in the afternoon to help play.”

It marked the second straight year that the Stonier team has won the cup.

Venturi spent the day talking with golfers and shaking old friend’s hands. At the evening awards reception Venturi talked about his long relationship with people, the island and Eagle Creek, the golf course he first created.

“I’ve been blessed to have friends like Barb and Joe Klimas (of Marco) and Eagle Creek. I think the course has greens equal to anywhere in Florida.”

He complimented Mike Ward of Marco for being one of the Charities founders.

“They don’t come any better than Mike Ward,” Venturi said.

He also credited Marco’s Tom Mackelfresh, secretary of the organization, for his years of effort. The Charities have been able to donate more than $1 million over the years to help county high schools’ golf programs, provide scholarships and help other charities.

Venturi lauded the efforts of Sherwood, saying the organization couldn’t have a better leader.

Venturi said all those people exemplified what his fattier told him many years ago.

“Remember it is not what you take, but what you leave behind,” he said.

Individual prizes went to Marco’s Barbara Campasano for closest to the pin on the 17th hole; Jesse Ciminski on the fifth hole, Dan LaCasse on the eight hole and Scott Summers on the 12th hole. Summers shot stopped just 18 inches from a hole in one.

Tying for low gross score were the foursomes of Todd Curt, Matt Kelley, Todd Howard and Alec Ardito, along with Jeff and Mary Coombs, Hank Garris and John Davidson.

In low net, Steve Eisenberg, Russell Johnson, Gene Illnicki and Martha Hall placed second and Jon Heiges, Barbara Lehman, Lyle Scharenberg and Randy Van Alstine were third.

© 2008 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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