Golfers Raise $160,000 in Annual Pro-Am
By Gary Kalahar
July 12, 2005
When Sandro Dinello found out Jan Stephenson was playing in the Wendy's Charity Golf Classic, he went hunting in his collection of old magazines.
He found what he was looking for, and on Monday at the Country Club of Jackson he pulled out a Sport magazine from 1977 with Stephenson on the cover and asked her to autograph it.
What was even better for Dinello was that he was one of the four Jackson men who played on Stephenson's team in the pro-am that raised $160,000 for adoption services. Proceeds were presented to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, with at least half of that amount to be returned to local adoption services provided by Family Service and Children's Aid.
In five years, the event, which also included an auction at the previous night's pairings party, has raised nearly $700,000.
"We're well supported by Jackson and by people from all over the country," said Mark Behm, tournament co-chair and president of local Wendy's franchisee Stanton and Associates. "A number of the golfers are from Jackson, and 120 volunteers help the tournament run smoothly."
Stephenson was one of the top names among the 25 LPGA professionals who each teamed with four amateurs in an 18-hole scramble. Stephenson won 16 times on the LPGA Tour between 1976 and 1987, including three major championships. She was marketed as the tour's glamour girl.
Stephenson said she plays in very few such outings any more but ventured to Jackson because of her friendship with Elaine Crosby, Jackson's LPGA pro and tournament co-chair. She also was friends with the late Wendy's founder Dave Thomas.
She plays occasionally on the LPGA Tour in addition to the Women's Senior Golf Tour that she helped found. She is also breaking into golf course design. She has completed her first design, the Walkabout Golf Club near Orlando, Fla., and is working on three courses.
"I can't complain if I'm busy," she said. "Five years ago, I couldn't break through in the design business because I was a woman."
So what did she think of the Country Club of Jackson's classic layout? "I loved it," Stephenson said. "It's a very pretty course. It's got character. It's not like these new courses that are just long, long, long."
John Campau, who also played with Stephenson, said she made it an enjoyable day.
Sandro Dinello, Erv Portis, Jan Stephenson, John Campau, Dan Heyns
"She creates a peaceful environment for playing a good round of golf," Campau said. "She's very personable and very knowledgeable about golf. She was a lot of fun."
Campau, president of Comtronics, has been a sponsor with a team in the pro-am all five years.
"It's all about getting kids on the right path at a young age, so they don't end up sitting in his office," Campau said as he nodded toward Sheriff Dan Heyns, another member of the team.
Heyns, playing in the event for the first time, said Stephenson provided some helpful instruction.
"I was struggling off the tee," Heyns said. "I didn't want to ask her to help; you don't know if she wants to do that. But she was very gracious. She volunteered some things, and if you can take an old duffer like me and help me out, that's great.
"I must confess, a couple of the things she said, I had no idea what she was talking about."
Heyns noted the way Stephenson managed the golf course.
"She sees things on the green that the average player wouldn't see," he said. "Not only when you're on the green, but as you approach it."
The team of pro Lisa Kiggens and amateurs Howard O'Brien, Bob Fox, Dave Glazier and Scott Gillesby fired the day's low score, an 18 under 54. Two teams were at 56: Stacy Snider along with Russ Youngdahl, Ric Walton, Andy Mercer and John Kudner, and A.J. Eathorne with Jim Sykes, Dick Schneider, Tony Baker and Matt Farrell.
Low handicap score of 49.2 was Tina Barrett with Ty Harvey, Patrick Lowe, Bob Sydney and Vern Hawkins.
Reprinted with permission from Jackson Citizen Patriot
Copyright July 12, 2005