As the culmination of four months of celebration, the 25th annual Cape Coral City Championship completed its first day of competition Saturday at Coral Oaks Golf Course.
Coral Oaks opened for business on July 3, 1988. At that time, the city had a contest to name the golf course and create a logo. Betty Yeomen was the winner of the contest, and Mort Roth won the logo contest. That was 25 years ago.
Tournament director Allen Manguson pointed to the new logo for the City Championship and explained how they've been celebrating the tournament anniversary.
"We've had FMOF - four months of fun - centered around the number 25," he said.
After four years with registration in the 140s, the Championship drew 179 participants this year, a tournament record. The two-day event is separated into five men's flights according to their handicap, and one women's flight.
The tournament weekend kicked off Friday with a Pro-Am event. One professional was grouped with three amateurs for a foursome. This year's winning foursome was pro Travis Wehrs along with Ron and Ben Elisha, and Al DeMott.
This is the ninth year the tournament has been held in October.
"The golfers have Tropical Storm Dennis to thank for the change of the time of championship," said Manguson.
The original July date was cancelled when the storm came through, Manguson rescheduled it for October, and it has been that way ever since.
"This is the best tournament we've ever played in," said 20-year Cape Coral resident Kevin Dobbs. He and his twin brother Keith, and friend Harvey Simpson, are competing in the D Flight. The men, who became friends because of their military experience, expressed that the championship offered the best value and perks anywhere, a sentiment repeated by several other players.
"Without a doubt, we'll be here again next year," Dobbs said.
Three players stick out from the first-day events. The first is Duncan Fischer, a 10-year-old playing in the D Flight. Fischer along with his dad and sister, are regulars at Coral Oaks.
"They're out here almost every day," said Manguson. Fischer, whose dad is his caddy because he's not old enough to drive his own cart, leads after 18 holes with an 83. He is four strokes ahead of his nearest challenger.
The second golfer is Tom Acken, who shot his first ever hole-in-one. It came on the eighth hole, which is considered the most difficult of the par-3 holes to play.
Third on the list is Jonathan Tedesco. He is the overall first-round leader with a 71. Tedesco is a 1999 Mariner graduate who has played the City Championship several times.
"I was within one stroke of winning a number of years ago," he said. "I played solid today, with two chip-ins."
Tedesco has his name on a plaque in the clubhouse. He holds the course record for low competitive score on the middle tees with a 66.
Asked what he needed to win, he said, "I need to go ahead and play the day hole by hole and keep it on the fairway."
Leaders of the different flights are:
Women's Gross - Colette Charpentier 80
Women's Net - Colette Charpentier 66
D Flight - Duncan Fischer 83
C Flight - John Blalock 80
B Flight - Jeff Cooper 81
A Flight - (tie) Mike Christianson 75, Mark Ludden 75
Championship - Jonathan Tedesco 71
The final round of the tournament is Sunday.
Friday's Pro-Am Results
1. Tommy Stankowski 68; 2. Kyle Dobbs 69; 3. Jason Ruffin 70; 4 (tie) Chris Trout, Earl Persinger, Dan Mazziota 71
1. Travis Wehrs, Ron Elisha, Ben Elisha, Al Demott 1172. Dan Mazziotta, Brian Hemminger, Chris Bina, Jay Murphy 120; 3. Chris Trout, Mike Doherty, Mike Stephenson, Marty Waters 123; 4. Earl Persinger, Ed Ziegler, Michael Tessmer, Garth Carter 125; 5. Mark Faulkner, Larry Wheller, Bob Landgrebe, Bob Briarton 125.
Closest to the Pin
#6 Kenneth Tolles; #8 Phil Jackson; #12 Randy Jones; #18 Mark Biddison