Highlands Today sports staff
SEBRING - The 14th annual Sebring Firemen Memorial Golf Classic presented by AXA Advisors and Home Depot will take place Saturday at Sun 'n Lake Golf Club.
The popular 18-hole tournament has become a tradition, raising more than $260,000 for local sports since its inception.
While many are familiar with the help Sebring High School receives from Sebring Firemen Inc., the organization also helps out with youth sports of all levels, including Sebring middle schools, youth football, youth soccer, Dixie baseball and the YMCA.
Tommy Lovett Sr. has been the tournament director since its inception and said the Firemen would not be able to do what they do for youth athletes without the involvement of the community.
"Without the support of our businesses and the community, we would not be able to help the student-athletes in our area," Lovett said. "We greatly appreciate the men, women and businesses that support our organization. Without them, we would not be able to raise the kind of money we do to help our local sports."
The popular four-person scramble tournament drew a large field of 226 golfers last year and Lovett was hopeful for a similar turnout this year.
That's nearly double the entries from the inaugural tournament, which was put together in quick fashion.
The event has grown so popular that both the Deer Run and the newly renovated Turtle Run courses will be used to accommodate the large field.
"We're thrilled to be able to host such a great tournament," said Sun 'n Lake professional Andy Kesling. "Both courses are in great shape with all the rain we've had and we're looking forward to a great day of golf."
While the tournament will be played on Saturday, the festivities get started Friday evening.
Friday night kicks off with a mixer that starts at 6 p.m. with hors d'oeuvres and drinks and people can register early for the tournament if they would like to avoid the long lines on Saturday. There will also be some nice prizes given away.
The silent auction is always one of the highlights of the event and this year it will include some great memorabilia.
The players will be able to compete on two quality courses and enjoy putting on the Champion Bermuda greens.
The event is one of the major annual fundraisers for the Firemen.
"The important thing is that every dollar we raise, we give back to the kids," Lovett said.
There is still time to register for the tournament. The cost is $75 per person and includes lunch, range balls and mulligans. The tournament will begin at 8:30 a.m. Saturday with a shotgun start on both the Turtle Run and Deer Run courses.
To register, contact Lovett at 382-2255. To fax your entry to the Sebring Firemen Inc., the number is 385-7773.