46th Annual Eagle Open: Hammock Bay hosts Marco’s longest-running golf event

Lance Shearer

Coming on the first day of June, the Eagle Open qualifies as the beginning of the off-season. The “snowbirds” have flocked north, and the year-round residents remain.

Forty-eight golfers showed up on Saturday morning at JW Marriott’s Hammock Bay golf course, to play a round, catch up with their buddies, and raise funds for some good causes.

The Eagle Open is run as a joint project of the island’s two Rotary clubs. Debra Shanahan, president of the Sunrise Rotary, chaired the event again, and Pat Rutledge, president of the Noontime Rotary was on hand as well, manning – “womanning?” – the volunteer check-in tables, selling Mulligans, and keeping everything running smoothly.

The proceeds from the event are shared between the two clubs. Rutledge said their share of the revenue goes to their support for Marco Island Charter Middle School, while the Noontime club, said Shanahan, funds a number of causes including Meals for Hope, scholarships, and Marco Island Academy. Despite the number of golfers dropping from 62 last year, Shanahan said she expects revenues from this year’s event to match the $11,000 total from 2018.

Highlighting that after the tourist season comes the rainy season, a sharp downpour interrupted the tournament mid-morning. “Everyone waited it out and finished,” said Shanahan, with the rain providing a little natural air conditioning.

Speaking of air conditioning, the top foursome, finishing at a whopping 18 under par in the best-ball scramble, all came from Condee Cooling & Electric. Marcos Herrera, David Paul Bachert, Rene Simon, and David Bay took home the $400 prize.

The foursome of Derek Tenney, and Matt, Adam, and Jim Jurgaitis, all of whom except Jim were part of last year’s winning foursome, came in second at 14 under. Curt and Jacquie Koon, Vip Grover, and Patrick Layton came in third at minus 11.

David Bay and Jennifer Allen won for closest to the pin, Matt Jurgaitis and Jacquie notched the longest drives, and Jacquie Koon also won the 50/50 raffle. No one took home the $5,000 offered for a hole in one on #17, with Rich Kaplan and Bob Thomas doing the work of monitoring the cup from a cart sitting in the shade alongside the green.

Hammock Bay assistant golf professional Conner Risi sent the golfers off with their instructions, and the most popular person on the course was Terry Shiver with the beverage cart. It may not be true that the reason for the popularity of golf events is that they make drinking in the morning socially acceptable, but it can’t hurt.