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Sarasota Wednesday, May 13, 2020 3 weeks ago

Local golf directors play marathon match for charity

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The match, held at TPC Prestancia, lasted 12 hours and nine rounds.
by: Ryan Kohn Sports Reporter

When the clock struck 7 p.m., Neil Jones and David McIntyre walked off the course at TPC Prestancia Golf and Social Club in better shape than they anticipated. 

It had been a long Monday. Jones and McIntyre got to the club 12 hours earlier and immediately began playing golf — and never stopped. No breaks, not even for lunch; they simply ate while playing. They did not keep score, because low scores were not the goal.

(Although, Jones said, they did hit some great shots.)

On this day, everything was about charity. Jones, the director of golf at TPC Prestancia, and McIntyre, the director of golf at Laurel Oak Country Club, were conducting their marathon session to raise money for the Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation, providing assistance to those battling the coronavirus pandemic on the front lines. Both Jones and McIntyre asked the members of their respective clubs to sponsor them in their outing. Before a single hole had been played, the pair had raised approximately $25,000, Jones said. 

Now, the pair wants to take it a step further, asking people, if they are able, to donate a dollar for every hole Jones and McIntyre completed during their marathon: 162. That's exactly nine rounds of golf in one day. 

"It's the most holes I have ever played at one time, easily," Jones said. "I did 116 once, but that's still a lot less than 162."

Post-golf, McIntyre said he felt a bit of soreness in his lower back and his fingers, but otherwise felt fine, to his surprise.  Around 1 p.m., he said, his shoulder began acting up. He was worried it was going to be downhill from there, but the pain subsided on its own. Around 5 p.m., he felt some general stiffness. But he was playing golf with a friend for a good cause; there was no option except to power through to the end. He said he brought bandages with him, in case anything needed extra support, but did not have to use them.

Jones, too, said his body held up relatively well, but even if it had not, it would have been worth it. 

"We're fortunate, David and I, plus our staffs, to be able to work during all this," Jones said. "We wanted a way to use that and say thank you to the medical staffers on the front lines fighting for us. Just a thank you from the golf community."

Jones said there was no specific target they were trying to hit, nor did they feel any pressure to speed through each hole to get to the next one. It was a marathon, not a sprint, after all. Jones said he thought they might hit 120 holes, but was happy to have underestimated them. 

Jones said people interested in making a donation can call either the TPC Prestancia (922-2800) or Laurel Oak (378-3608) pro shop. People can also email [email protected] to donate or for more information. The pair will be awarding the funds May 18. 

Jones and McIntyre hope the donations continue to rise. That way, they didn't exhaust themselves for nothing. 

"I'm going home to get a shower and a beer," McIntyre said after the round. "Maybe at the same time." 

I’m the sports reporter for Sarasota and East County and a Missouri School of Journalism graduate. I was born and raised in Olney, MD. My biggest inspirations are Wright Thompson and Alex Ovechkin. My strongest belief is that mint chip ice cream is unbeatable.

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