By Doug Halberstadt
Next Monday (July 15), local amateur golfers will tee it up once again with the professionals at Forest Hills Country Club for the 37th Annual Rockford PRO/AM. Twenty amateur foursomes will be paired with 20 professional golfers to take part in the nation’s longest-running, free-standing PRO/AM.
Kenny Perry is this year’s headliner. The perennial crowd favorite will be making his 10th appearance in the charity event. It was exactly 10 years ago (2003) when Perry won his first Rockford PRO/AM. He shot a 5-under-par 67 and beat out Ben Crenshaw, Russ Cochran, Billy Mayfair and Doug Barron by one stroke.
This year, the tournament will benefit the following six local organizations:
• Barbara Olson Center of Hope — For exercise equipment to be used by young adults and adults with special developmental needs.
• Discovery Center Museum — For construction of the new Nature Play Space and Ecology Tree House.
• Northern Illinois Food Bank — For the organization’s Weekend BackPack Program for children who are at risk of hunger when they’re not in school.
• Rock River Valley Pantry — For the summer distribution of canned fruit to children who are not in school.
• St. Bridget Food Pantry — For pantry items distributed to 275-300 families monthly.
• The Junior Golf Course of Greater Rockford.
The Rockford PRO/AM has raised nearly $3 million for local nonprofit organizations since Keith Fergus edged Bob Gilder by one stroke with a 66 at Elliott Golf Course to capture the first PRO/AM in front of a crowd of 4,000 fans back in 1977.
The following pros are scheduled to join Perry next Monday:
Charlie Beljan, Ken Duke, Tommy Gainey, David Hearn, Morgan Hoffmann, Skip Kendall, Ben Kohles, Doug LaBelle, Scott Langley, Brittany Lincicome, Troy Matteson, William McGirt, Brian Mogg, Ryan Palmer, Patrick Reed and Chris Riley.
The cost for spectators to watch these pros and their team of amateurs is the same as it has been for the last several years, $5. Tickets are available at the gate. Parking for the PRO/AM will be available at the Kraft Foods lots on Forest Hills Road and the former Sears Essentials lot on Riverside Boulevard. A continuous free shuttle bus will run from Sears Essentials to Forest Hills Country Club from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the July 10-16, 2013, issue