University of North Florida golf coach Scott Schroeder and his teenage daughter Kaitlyn fired a 9-under-par 62 at Jax Beach Golf Club to claim victory in the Family Division at the JAGA Family Championship. They bested defending champions Keith and Ryan Nagy of Windsor Park Golf Club by three shots in the two-person scramble on a windswept North Florida day.
With a birdie on the final hole to finish at 3-under-par 68, Bob and Melissa Gotfredson of Sawgrass Country Club captured the Couples Division in a match of scorecards over Hayes and Dawn Farley of San Jose Country Club.
In the net competitions, Bruce and Charlie Kelnhofer of Bent Creek Golf Course club took home the top prize in the Family Division, while Rodney and LuAnn VanPelt of Deerwood Country Club came out on top in the Couples Division. The Kelnhofers’ net score was 62 and the VanPelts’ 64.
The event was conducted by the Jacksonville Area Golf Association (JAGA).
In addition to trophies to the four winning teams, there were a variety of other prizes from the TPC Sawgrass golf shop awarded to 16 teams based on gross and net finishes as well as miscellaneous performances like closest to the pin, best holiday costume and more.
Jacksonville attorney Tad Griffin sponsored a $10,000 hole-in-one prize on the par-3 12th. Nobody aced it, but Rick Bell came closest hitting his tee shot to approximately 3 feet.
Forced to move from its traditional May date to a pre-Christmas date due to COVID-19, tournament chairman Duke Butler III enjoyed a surge in entries this year. The field leaped from 72 players last year to 138 this year and was a mix of men and women, grandparents, parents and youth from as young as 10 to several in their 80s.
Headlining the field was former PGA TOUR Commissioner Deane Beman with wife Judy, grouped with his former Deputy Commissioner Tim Smith and his wife, Cynthia. Topping off the day was a surprise appearance from Santa Claus.
The Family Championship joined the JAGA schedule with its new format in 2018 but its roots lie in two former JAGA events, the Father-Son and Couples tournaments. The Family Championship is a re-creation of the two, with the circle of family eligibility connections expanded.
The revamped tournament was the brainchild of Butler III, a long-time PGA professional and former PGA TOUR executive who has been involved in the game for more than 50 years. As a JAGA director from TPC Sawgrass, Butler once again chaired the tournament with his family members, wife Sheila, son Duke IV and daughter Sadie.
“It was a fun and festive event featuring an enjoyable format hosted at Jax Beach’s excellent public facility,” said Butler. “The only iffy circumstance seemed to be the cool windy weather Santa brought with him from the North Pole. Just like any good golfer though, Santa promised to work on the timing of his weather for next year’s tournament. On behalf of JAGA, thank you to everyone who participated and/or supported the event. We had a wonderful day!”
Perhaps the happiest participant was PGA professional and First Tee instructor Susan Waite who got to play golf with her brothers Jay and Charles for the first time in 40 years, with nephew Nick completing the foursome.
Butler added that a similar date for The Family Championship has already been booked at Jax Beach for 2021.
Complete Family Championship results are available at www.jaxareagolf.org.