The biggest question on everyone's mind right now is...will 2-time defending Ocala Open champion and PGA professional Ted Potter, Jr. play in the tournament this year? After capturing the title last year in six extra holes of "sudden death" play over Orlando, Florida's Eric Cole, Ocala's King of Golf Ted Potter, Jr. continues his tremendous play on the Hooters Tour for 2011, capturing their money title and assuring himself what he has always dreams of...a PGA Tour Card for the 2012 playing season.
Last year's remarkable win in the "sudden death" extra hole shootout at Candler Hills Golf Club was his second in a row for the Ocala Open. So, the question is...will Potter return to repeat a third time? Only time will tell.
Other questions people are asking is whether Arnold Palmer's grandson, Sam Saunders return to play in this year's tournament after finishing fourth last year and will Eric Cole, son of prominent golfers Bobby and Laura Baugh Cole from Orlando, be back in the mix after finishing second to Potter last year. Those are just a few still unanswered questions about the field of professionals this year.
Tournament director Rick Hendershot of the Florida Professional Golf Tour is encouraged with the early entries. "It is pretty early in the planning process for the guys that play," Hendershot mentioned. "So many players' schedules can change from week to week. This isn't any different from the previous years of the Ocala Open. We are still well over a week out from the entry deadline and already have players from six different states, five from Florida and two from Canada signed up to play...things are looking good," Rick added.
The 2012 Ocala Open begins on Tuesday, March 13th with a charity Pro-Am. Just as last year's event, the benefiting charities will be Hospice of Marion County and Interfaith Emergency Services. "Our charities are the real winners when the professional golfers come to town," stated Lynette Vermillion, General Manager for On Top of the World Communities, who is responsible for putting on this extraordinary tournament. "It is our pleasure to host this level of professional play at Candler Hills Golf Club and to support local charities that make such a positive impact in our community."
If you would like to get a golf team together and participate in the charity Pro-Am this year, there still is time to enter. Download an application from the Ocala Open website OcalaOpen.com or contact the golf staff at Candler Hills at 352-861-9712. There is a Nike tee gift worth $225, free breakfast and lunch, and of course a round of golf with one of the professionals for each amateur player who participates in the Pro-Am.
See you on the course following the pros from Wednesday, March 14 through Friday, march 16!
Greg Wise is the Call Center Manager for On Top of the World Communities.