Annual Pan Am Classic a tremendous success, attracts golfers of all ages
Posted: 04/26/2002
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More than 100 golfers turned out for the 13th annual Pan Am Classic golf tournament April 20 at Los Lagos Golf Club in Edinburg.

The event - sponsored by The University of Texas-Pan American Foundation - raised $103,000 for student scholarships at UTPA.

A member of the Lady Bronc golf team teaches several young golfers the putting technique during the free youth golf clinic at the Pan Am Classic April 20 at Los Lagos Golf Club.
The Pan Am Classic also featured the return of the BLOCKBUSTER® Million Dollar Shootout and a free youth golf clinic. Both events were huge hits last year, organizers said.

During the tournament, 112 golfers competed in two-man teams in three flights for $2,000 in prizes per flight. First place winners took home $500, with $300 for second and $200 for third

. Players enjoyed tamales and fajitas on Hole 11 and had the opportunity to win a $150,000 custom built home by Shea Development. Golfers also had the chance to win a Harley-Davidson motorcycle donated by the Rio Grande Valley Harley-Davidson of Pharr on Hole 4, along with other prizes at certain holes.

Refreshments included Valley Coca-Cola soft drinks and water and Budweiser beer supplied by L&F Distributors. Johnny Carino's provided lunch at Los Lagos following the tournament.

Flight winners included: First Flight - First Place, Charlie Hernandez and Jay Cortez, 70; Second Place, Bertil Marje and Rudy Rivas, 72; Third Place, Tim Mayer and Bill Spurlock, 72.

Second Flight - First Place, Carlos Ramos and Mingo Garza, 72; Second Place, Ismael Rodriguez and Rene Borrego, 74; Third Place, George Arriola and Juan Rosales, 74.

Third Flight - First Place, Gerardo Alaniz and Dr. Gerardo Alaniz, 80; Second Place, Winston Ayala and Julio Gonzalez, 82; Third Place, Larry Balli and Humberto Rodriguez, 84.

Following the tournament, 35 golfers had the opportunity to become millionaires during the Blockbuster Million Dollar Shootout. Some golfers came close, but no one took home the money.

Each player had one shot to win a million dollars by hitting an ace on the 135-yard No. 18. An additional $28,000 was available for flags valued at $5,000, $2,000 and $1,000 for balls that missed the million-dollar mark.

Meanwhile, more than 80 young golfers between the ages of 6-13 had the chance to learn about the game from the UTPA men's and women's golf teams during the free clinic.

Participants studied the fundamentals of golf such as putting, chipping, full swing and terminology.

"I feel like I learned a lot," said Adam Ramos, a 9-year-old from Milam Elementary in McAllen. "They (the Broncs) are really good, and they taught me a lot of really good golf strategies."

Ramos's father, Eduardo, was very excited to bring his son to the clinic for the first time to learn the game and all that is involved with the sport.

"I really want him to learn the proper golf techniques because he loves golf," Ramos said. "He really enjoyed it and got a lot of good information out of it. This is definitely an opportunity not to miss because lessons are expensive."

Marcela Leal of Donna brought her three children: Marcy, 13; Marisela, 10; and Ricardo Jr., 7, to the free clinic. She made it a family affair and an opportunity to encourage her children to get a higher education.

"My son really wanted to come out here and play golf," Leal said. "Also, my husband is a UTPA alumnus, and we are using this as an opportunity to motivate the kids about going to college. We want them to stay close to home and attend UTPA like their dad. We like UTPA, and we hope they become interested in the University, too."

Other sponsors for the tournament included the following: Ace Sponsors - City of Edinburg, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, CoSERVE, Hispanic Magazine, and The Monitor; Birdie Sponsors - AEP-Central Power and Light and Haggar Clothing Co.

Par Sponsors - CoSTEP, Valley Coca-Cola, Croslin Design Build/Spaw Glass, Johnny Carino's, KRGV-TV Channel 5, Optimum Therapy, South Texas Health System, Texas State Bank, J.E. Saenz & Associates/Eddie Saenz and Muñoz Group/Ed Muñoz.

Beer Cart Sponsor - L&F Distributors; Hole Sponsors - D. Wilson Construction and RGV Sugar Growers; Hole-in-One Sponsors - Rio Grande Valley Harley-Davidson of Pharr and Shea Development; Fiesta Sponsor - Topo Chico/ O'Neil Specialty; Shootout Sponsor - Tejano Entertainment/ Blockbuster, Inc.