Friday, March 1, 2013

Springtime in Ocala

by: Greg Wise

2012 Ocala Open winner Yohann Benson
of Montreal, Canada.
In the golf world, springtime can only mean one's time for the Ocala Open professional golf tournament! The Florida Professional Golf Tour (FPGT) returns March 13 - 15 to Candler Hills Golf Club to present the seventh annual Ocala Open with a select group of professional golfers. Originally from Montreal, Canada, last year's winner Yohann Benson now resides in Harmony, Fl and is scheduled to return and defend his title. 

"It is a pleasure to return to Candler Hills every year. The players enjoy playing this event. Many players have commented that the staff of Candler Hills is amazing and the way that they are treated and the quality of the course...makes them feel like they are on the PGA Tour," stated FPGT Director, Rick Herdershot. He went on to say, "The comments that I hear the most are about the passion for golf the residents of On Top of the World Communities have and how they are helpful to pitch in and be a part of this event. That is amazing to many of the players. They truly like playing in the Ocala Open."

Playing two groups ahead of the second round leaders on the final day of the 2012 event, Benson went to work clearing a four stroke deficit with a birdie on the final hole giving him a final day 64 and a tournament total -18, 198. Benson stood quietly with the gallery around the left side of the 18th green watching the shot that would make the difference between the win and a sudden death play-off. Needing an eagle on the final hole to tie Benson, Willie Mack III of Flint, Mi., used a sand wedge from 95 yards out but came up short of the hole. The missed shot by Mack III was all that was needed to seal the win and $12,000 purse for Benson.

Who is the Real Winner at the Ocala Open?

The winner is...CHARITY!! "Again this year, the official charities that win big with the playing of the Pro-am on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 will be Hospice of Marion County and Interfaith Emergency Services. These charities are very strong supporters of the Ocala/Marion County residents and we are pleased to be a major support mechanism for these organizations," commented Lynette Vermillion, General Manager of On Top of the World.

If you are interested in participating in the Ocala Open Pro-Am on Tuesday, March 12th or would like to sponsor the tournament, contact Candler Hills Golf Club's director of golf, Matt Hibbs at 352-861-9712 or email him at

Greg Wise is the Call Center Manager at On Top of the World Communities and the official Ocala Open event photographer.

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