The Wayne/Pike Shrine Club held its 25th annual golf tournament Monday at Cricket Hill
The Wayne/Pike Shrine Club's annual golf tournament has grown by leaps and bounds over the last 25 years.
An event that began as something of lark ... just a small outing for a group of golfers who all happened to be friends ... is now one of the premier benefit events in the entire region.
“We definitely had what I'd call humble beginnings,” longtime organizer Jeff Hiller said with a laugh.
“We had 64 golfers that first year and we decided to donate whatever we could to charity. It didn't take us long to decide on the Shrine Club. The Shriners do such incredible work and we were happy to help out in some small way.”
This year's edition of the tournament attracted the maximum amount of teams. All told, 96 golfers teed it up at Cricket Hill Monday afternoon.
“We couldn't have fit one more person out there,” said Hiller of the noontime shotgun start. “It was an amazing day. The weather was perfect and the course was in beautiful shape.”
While an official total wasn't available at press time, Jeff believes that several thousand dollars was generated. The money will go to support the local Shriners and two children's hospitals in Philadelphia.
“The kids are absolutely the real winners,” he said of the silver anniversary golf tourney.
“Anytime you can do something to help a child who's burned or can't walk ... well, in my opinion that's what it's all about.”
The team of Lynn Simons, Bill Surdeval, Fred Mancuso and Justin Manley finished first in the Men's Division.
This talented links quartet carded a sizzling score of 59, good for a one-shot cushion over the runner-up team of Todd Stephens, Ron Firmstone, Dave Murray and Steve Firmstone (60).
In third place was the foursome of Pete Gregory, Dan Kaufman, Mike Curran and Rick Flederbach (63).
On the women's side of the ledger, the team of Rita O'Neill, Judy Goyette, Joan Fowler and Joann Wychowanec captured the 2014 crown.
This group tallied an 18-hole score of 67, which was good for a three-shot margin over runners-up Sue Springer, Veronica Gardas, Kathy Haser and Linda Soden (70).
The third place team of Bonnie Simons, Janet Clewell , Daryl Ciccone and Betsy Hattersley battled its way to a 73.
Wayne/Pike Shrine Club officials also offer a Mixed Division, which was dominated by Bob Simons, Bridget Simons, Nancy Moro and Gary Mesko.
This team put together an electrifying round of 63, four shots better than runners-up Jim VanOrden, Jeff Hiller, Kathy Stile and Augie Stile (67).
Rounding out the day was the team of Jerry Ciccone, John Bea, Dan Corcoran and Bridget Corcoran who also posted a score of 67.
On the Course
In addition to the team competition, the Shrine Club also handed out prizes to individuals for on-course accomplishments.
Bridget Simons turned in a brilliant all-round effort on this day.
A former Honesdale High School links standout who's now playing at East Stroudsburg University, Simons claimed a pair of awards. Bridget earned Longest Drive honors at #3 and won the Closest to the Pin competition at #11.
Ron Firmstone, Todd Stephens and Dave Seber also walked away with on-course prizes.
Firmstone unleashed a booming tee shot at #4 to win Longest Drive honors.
Stephens was closest to the pin at #14, while Seber did the same at #6.
Over & Out
The Wayne/Pike Shrine Club's annual tournament had its origins at the Villa Roma resort.
From there, it moved to Panorama Golf Club where it remained for many years.
After a short stay at French Woods, the tourney appears to have found a permanent home at Cricket Hill in Berlin Township.
While the event requires countless hours of preparation from many selfless volunteers, Jeff Hiller and Jim Firmstone take the lead each year.
“I can't believe it's been 25 years already,” Jeff said. “It went by so fast!
“I hope it lasts at least another 25. I know I'll be helping out as long as I can. It's a great event and I'll do it in a wheelchair if I have to.”