The Youth Villa Women’s Team Tournament is a large part of the Youth Villa tournament week. It precedes the men’s three-day tournament over the Memorial Day weekend.
It is a two-day tournament starting on Wednesday May 22. The tournament has been in existence for more than 30 years and is a significant contributor to the fund raising for the Sheriff’s Youth Villa.
The format for the tournament is team play with each team consisting of four golfers. Two members of each team play best ball against an opposing team. Best ball is a competition which uses the best score of the golfers for each hole. Handicaps figure in the scoring so points are deducted from the score on high handicap holes. This could turn a par into a birdie or a birdie into an eagle, so playing the best on harder holes is rewarded.
After finishing the round each two team’s score is combined with the other two players and the scores are posted for that day.
Much interest is generated with the postings as the next day’s pairings are determined by the top scoring teams matched against each other for the final round.
This year’s tournament is a full field of 27 teams. Last year’s champion Eaglebrooke has entered to defend their title. They have the best chance again with the lowest handicap players led by Kirsten Haake, a former tour player partnered with Jo Ahearn a 6 handicapper. The other Eaglebrooke team has Sisi Hedges with a 2 handicap teamed with Susan Buchanan.
The Bartow Women’s Golf Association has entered an A and B team. They are chosen according to handicap rankings earned throughout the playing season. The A team is made up of Kathey Milligan playing with Juanita Nielsen and Mandy Singletary teamed with Martha Post. B team players are Pat Lowery and Susan Prevatt with Jennifer Brinson paired with Linda Keith. The Bartow team has won the Villa championship in the past and has also won the Net division which includes the handicaps.
This year’s line up consists of these teams representing entries from the Central Florida area:
Bartow Golf Course A and B, Cleveland Heights Golf Club A and B, Cypresswood, Diamondback Golf Club, Eaglebrooke, Grasslands A and B, Grenelefe, Highland Ridge North A and B, Highlands Ridge South A and B, Huntington Hills Golf Club A and B, Kissimmee Bay A and B, Lake Ashton East A and B, Lake Ashton West A and B, Lone Palm Golf Club A and B, Sebring Golf Club, Temple Terrace Golf Club A and B.
Following the tournament an awards banquet is held to announce the winning teams.
Awards are presented from first to fifth place in each division Gross and Net. Due to the closing of the Peace River Country Club, this year’s banquet will be held in a large tent on the grounds of the golf course.
Tournament director Pat Lowery has been the leader of this tournament for many years and her staff of volunteers are counted on each year to assist with so many jobs from providing a continental breakfast each day, scorecard preparation, tending the scoreboards, and assembling the player’s goody bags.
One highlight of the tournament is the fly over of the Sheriff’s helicopter to signal the start of the round. He can get quite low and with the siren going full blast is always a thrill for the players.