TIF Pro-Am is a hole-in-one


NAPLES, Fla. (Dec. 28, 2011) – One hundred amateurs paired with some of the biggest names in golf, participated in The Immokalee Foundation’s sixth annual Charity Classic Pro-Am hosted by Bay Colony Golf Club in Naples. The day included a round of golf, clinics, breakfast and lunch – with proceeds benefitting the children of Immokalee through TIF.

It was a day filled with winners – both on and off the course. The tournament raised $372,700, coupled with a fundraising dinner and auction, both events raised $1.6 million for the nonprofit organization.

The team of Kevin Johnson, Wayne Meland, Greg Stupinski and John Wajda - playing nine holes with 11-time PGA Tour winner, Andy Bean, and nine holes with Naples native and golf pro, George McNeill - took first place at the golf tournament. The group was awarded the Rick Kletjian Cup, named in honor of the late Rick Kletjian, an early supporter of TIF's Take Stock in Children program.

According to TIF board member, Don O'Neill, Kletjian was one of the first true believers in the foundation's vocational success program, which helps non-college bound kids participate in vocational and on-the-job training. "After hearing about the pilot program, Rick gave us a substantial gift to help launch the program," he said. "He chose TIF because we were helping kids who had few advantages but lots of heart. We thought it only appropriate to name the Pro-Am first place prize in his honor to recognize his contributions."

The foursome wasn't the only group that walked away victorious. Alex Galvan, Gerardo Lugo, Charity Gonzalez and Erial Perez, all TIF students, had the privilege of playing alongside Nationwide Tour pro Erik Compton, and receiving golf tips from four-time PGA Tour winner Michael Bradley.


The tournament left quite an impression on Naples resident, Frank Pinto. Playing in the Charity Classic Pro-Am for the first time, Pinto sunk a hole-in-one on the 16th hole of the Bay Colony course, winning him his choice of a Jaguar or Porsche (he chose the Jaguar) graciously donated by Jaguar Naples.

Kevin Johnson of The Johnson Meland Group at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and chairperson of the Charity Classic Pro-Am said Mark Lye, a PGA Tour professional and Golf Channel analyst, deserves particular recognition for the crucial role he plays in the success of the tournament. This year, Lye once again recruited an impressive group of professionals from the LPGA, PGA Tour, Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour to participate in the tournament including Brian Gay, Russ Cochran, Bruce Fleisher, Daniel Chopra, Chip Beck, Andy Bean, Jim Gallagher, Wayne Levi, Brad Bryant, Derek Lamely, Terry Jo Myers, Cindy Rarick, Kris Tschetter and many more.

"This event would not be where it is today without the tremendous support of Mark and his wife, Lisa, as well as our sponsors, the golf professionals, participants, volunteers and other supporters," said Johnson. "With their help, we are able to provide a brighter future for the children of Immokalee."

mark-lye-kevin-johnson.jpgPresenting sponsor for the 2011 Charity Classic Celebration was The Johnson Meland Group at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. Additional sponsors were Fifth Third Bank, founding sponsor; and GE Foundation, corporate matching sponsor. Hope Society sponsors included Arthrex Inc. and Texas Roadhouse. The Empowerment Circle sponsor was Kelly Tractor. Education Circle sponsors included Bigham Jewelers, Caterpillar Foundation, Jaguar Naples and Porsche of Naples, and Joseph's Custom Clothiers. Naples Illustrated was the corporate media sponsor.

The Immokalee Foundation has a range of programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and vocational school, mentoring and tutoring, and opportunities for broadening experiences and life skills development. To learn more about the Charity Classic Celebration, volunteering as a mentor or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org .

Sharon Arnold, Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold Marketing and Public Relations, 239-275-5758, sarnold@gravinasmith.com


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