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Rain doesn't dampen spirits at B.J. Wetzler Memorial Golf Tournament

by on May 16, 2013 4:34 PM

MINGOVILLE — No matter the charity golf event, it’s never really about who wins as long as funds are raised for the betterment of that particular event.

“Remember, fundraising requires both optimism and realism,” said committee member Gary Bartley. “Without the first, few if any gift solicitation efforts would be made. Without the second, few if any would succeed.”

Such was the case this past Saturday in Mingoville as the Nittany Country Club hosted the sixth annual B. J. Wetzler Memorial Golf Tournament.

And despite heavy rains throughout the morning round that turned into lighter precipitation for the afternoon golfers, the event was an overwhelming success that will lead to more scholarships being available for a Bellefonte student.

“We (committee) worked on this event for the past five months to put this all together,” explained John Wetzler, B. J.’s father and former Lady Red Raiders softball coach. “We always attempt to put on a first-class operation and I have a lot of help to do that and through the golfers in particular, especially the morning golfers due to the rain that forced us to only be able to play a nine-hole event. They really got soaked and they were willing to accept a nine-hole tournament instead of an 18-hole event.

The morning group of Tim Glunt, Jerry Fisher, Tom Glunt and Terry Glunt posted a best-ball score of 30 over nine holes winning by matching scorecards to beat the foursome of Jay Zimmerman, Rick Knepp, Chris Sigler and Kevin Scott, who also carded a round of 30. Placing third, with a 32, was the team of Scott Benner, Jessie Moore, Aaron Zellers and Bob Belinda.

Despite the foul weather, the turnout was not deterred with full fields playing in both the morning and afternoon rounds over the 9-hole, 6,014-yard layout.

“When you play in a charity event, it’s not really about who wins or loses,” explained morning golfer Darin Rothrock of Bellefonte. “It’s always about the charity that you are supporting. Sure, winning is nice but bottom line is you want the charity to be the winner and the more successful the event is, the better it is. Besides any day on the golf course, wet or dry, is a good a day.”

The afternoon round was déjà vu for the Bill Workman foursome as they repeated as champions shooting a best-ball 58. The group consists of Workman, Rich Leathers, Tom Workman and Earl Yarnell. Carding a round of 59 for second was the foursome of Bill Luther, Ron Benton, Ray Andrews and Greg Kight. Placing third, also shooting a 59, was the team of Barry Reese, Chuck Colyer, Dave Hipple and Lisa Hipple.

“The conditions weren’t ideal due to all the rain that the course received during the morning round and created a lot of putts and shots that carom in all directions,” said Kight of his team’s 59 best-ball effort. “But we still managed to have a decent round in soggy conditions but in a charity event its not who wins, it’s what is done for the betterment of that particular charity.”

But as committee member Bartley explained, “bottom line, it’s all about helping someone that might not be able to further their education without receiving some type of financial aide and what ever little we can do, makes playing golf in the rain and getting wet just a little more satisfying.”

On-course skill prizes were also awarded with closest to the pin morning round winners in Darren Johnson, No. 4; Bob Belinda, No. 8; Mike Gerber, No. 13 and Chris Sigler, No. 17. Men’s long drive, John Curtin, No. 14 and women’s Allison D’Ambrosia, No. 9. Long putt, Tom Glunt, No. 7 and closest to pin second shot No. 11, Bill Bradley.

Afternoon on-course skill prizes were also awarded with closest to the pin morning round winners in Mark Johnson, No. 4; Irv Witnosky, No. 8; Dave Hipple, No. 13 and Ray Andrews, No. 17. Men’s long drive, Spike Kennedy, No. 14 and women’s MJ Boldin, No. 9. Long putt, Dave Hipple, No. 7 and closest to pin second shot No. 11, Dave Hipple.

“It’s very humbling and very gratifying to see all the support that we (family and event) receive from the community and throughout Centre Country,” explained Wetzler. “No one has ever turned us down when we ask for donations and we receive tremendous help and support of the event.”

silent auction was held the night before the golf event and far exceeded the expectations of the golf committee.

“The auction was awesome,” Wetzler said. “The turnout was outstanding and the bidding for the items was unreal in that several of the items went for more money than what the retail value was in the store. That has never happened before and we were able to generate over $5,000 during that part of the event. That’s the most we’ve ever raised and it was a tremendous evening that has enable us to increase our scholarships from $1,000 to $1,500.

“We’ve given out 13 $1,000 scholarships and not we are increasing those scholarships to $1,500 scholarships so that is very gratifying and we are looking forward to the continue support and be able to award the scholarships for a good number of years.

“When we recognize that a better word for fundraising is ‘friend raising,’ we open limitless doors to creativity in support of our causes,” explained Wetzler. “And hopefully this event will continue to grow more and more successful each and every year.”

B. J. Wetzler was a three-sport standout at Bellefonte who passed away from melanoma cancer on Dec. 22, 2006. She was 27.

John covers sports for the Gazette.
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