NCH Healthcare Systems Partner for Healthy Heart Day

Hall of Famer Larry Nelson, rookie Billy Andrade added to field

NAPLES, Fla. (Jan. 28, 2014) – February is American Heart Health Month and today ACE 13 NCH Finalofficials from NCH Healthcare Systems and The ACE Group Classic announced NCH Healthy Heart Day will take place on Friday, Feb. 14 during the opening round of the Champions Tour event being held at The TwinEagles Club Feb. 11-16.  Spectators are encouraged to wear red to support heart health awareness and for every spectator that enters the tournament wearing red, a portion of proceeds will be donated to NCH Healthcare Systems.

“Through the commitment of NCH Healthcare Systems we’re able to support a great cause that directly impacts our community. We encourage all of our fans to help raise awareness for heart health by wearing red on Friday,” said Tournament Director Gail Graham. “The culmination of everyone’s efforts will be a special presentation on Saturday where NCH Healthcare Systems will receive a donation from the tournament.”

Blood pressure checks and coupons offering $149 cardiac imaging (regularly over $1,000 in value) will be distributed to spectators courtesy of NCH Healthcare Systems. Fans will also be able to enter a drawing at the tournament for the chance to win one free cardiac imaging.

The latest additions to the tournament field include World Golf Hall of Fame member Larry Nelson and Champions Tour rookie Billy Andrade. Andrade will be making his debut at the Allianz Championship in Boca Raton, while Nelson will mark his twelfth appearance at The ACE Group Classic when he returns to Naples next month.

Ultimate Golf Experience Books are now on sale for $99. With the purchase of an Ultimate Golf Experience Book, fans will receive discounted golf rounds at over 25 of the best golf courses in Southwest Florida, a Weekly Grounds Ticket to The ACE Group Classic, complimentary parking all week, two concessions vouchers valid any day and a 10 percent discount in the TwinEagles Pro-Shop.

Upgraded ticket options, including The Talon Club 18th Green Hospitality Suite which includes beer, wine and a catered buffet are available for $100. Tickets are available online at, by phone at (239) 593-3900, or in the Naples PGA TOUR Superstore. Children 17 and under are admitted free all week with a ticketed adult.

SHARE: See The ACE Group Classic Red Out in honor of NCH Healthy Heart Day by using hashtag #NCHHealthyHeart on Instagram/Twitter @ACEGroupClassic!

Bernhard Langer Wins The ACE Group Classic

Naples, FL
– Bernhard Langer (64-66-66=196) posted a tournament-record 20-under-par 196 to capture his first victory of the season at The ACE Group Classic. Langer had eight birdies and finished with a final round six-under-par 66 to outlast Fred Funk by four strokes.

“It’s always exciting winning,” said Langer. “Winning is what we’re out here for, what I practice for.”

Langer spent the early part of the week in Naples with extra work on the practice range. He was one of the last players to leave the range on Wednesday and Thursday. That practice paid off as Langer enjoyed a share of the lead over the course of all three days. His first round 8-under-par 64 is the lowest opening round by a champion in tournament history. All together, he carded 23 birdies and an eagle during the tournament.

Langer, who lives in Boca Raton, FL, enjoyed the tremendous crowd support, including a surprise appearance from three of kids at the first tee on Sunday. The Southwest Florida community came out in full force all week, with some of the best crowds in tournament history.

“It’s wonderful to see that many people, even on Friday,” said Langer. “We were surprised how many people showed up and it’s great to see that kind of support from the community and obviously a lot of money goes to the charities, to local charities, so it will benefit them and it’s great for us to have that kind of support out there. It’s more fun playing in front of a large crowd than a small crowd.”

Funk (16-under) and first round co-leader Russ Cochran (15-under) each made a run at Langer during Sunday’s final round. However, the four-stroke lead Langer held heading into Sunday was too much to overcome.

Funk (68-66-66=200) closed the gap to two strokes after a Langer bogey on hole 11, but Funk was not able to capitalize on several opportunities and made pars on the final seven holes. “I put myself in position where I needed to… except for I didn’t finish them off,” said Funk. “It was fun to get in the hunt.”

Cochran and Nick Price finished T3 at 15-under. Mark Calcavecchia, playing in the final pairing with Langer and Cochran, finished fifth at 14-under.

Administaff Driving Range

Don’t miss the Administaff Driving Range at The ACE Group Classic this year! World Golf Hall of Fame members and the Legends of Golf can be seen working on their game and warming up for their championship rounds.

The Word’s Gotten Out

Champions Tour Player of the Year and 2010 Charles Schwab Cup winner Bernhard Langer sat down with members of the media today to discuss the current state of the Champions Tour.

“The word’s gotten out that this is a great Tour to come out to and the 40-year olds are trying to stay in shape and work out and keep sharp,” said Langer. “They don’t stop playing when they’re 45 or whatever.  Even if they lose their card, they keep grinding away at it because they know there’s another opportunity knocking on the door when they turn 50.  So as you say, there’s always new guys coming out here, and the guys that are out here are not ready to leave.  They’re great champions, they’re legends, many of them.  That’s why they’re here.  You know, you only have 78 players every week.  That means you get the best of the best, the best of the whole crop, and so it gets very competitive out here because very few players, whatever, you can’t say who don’t belong.”

To view the entire interview > click here

Naples Is a Very Special Place

World Golf Hall of Fame member Gary Player sat down with members of the media today to discuss his win at this first ever ACE Group Classic and his 23 years of playing in the 24-year old event.

“I think everybody really enjoys coming to Naples,” said Player.  “It’s a very special place, and the tournament is not like a lot of other tournaments that have not continued; this has continued…  Naples has kept it going, to their credit, and obviously it’s a very, very good tournament to have.  The golf course is in magnificent condition… they’ve always been extremely enthusiastic.”

To view the entire interview > click here

The First Tee of Naples/Collier Repeats

Two-time ACE Group Classic champion Loren Roberts and Philadelphia native Jay Sigel teamed up with members from The First Tee of Naples/Collier and The First Tee of Greater Philadelphia in a three-hole competition today at this year’s third-annual First Tee Challenge today.

Stephanie Carlozzi and Matt Taylor from The First Tee of Naples/Collier partnered with Loren Roberts to capture the 2011 trophy by one-stroke over Maddie Gilmartin and Louis Kelly from The First Tee of Greater Philadelphia and Pennsylvania resident Jay Sigel.

The trophy will be presented to The First Tee of Naples/Collier this evening during the 2011 Official Pairings Party.

To view photos from the event > click here

Tuesday Update From Joe


Tuesday, Feb. 15 – 8:50 a.m.

Local Joe Klimas has volunteered with The ACE Group Classic for 24 consecutive years as the first tee starter. This year, he is giving us a glimpse of some of those memories and keeping us updated on happenings from the course. Check back each day for a Morning Cup of Joe.

Free spectator golf at The Quarry on Tuesday.  Come on out and enjoy the festivities and practice rounds at no charge.
There is a traffic advisory for those traveling from the east coast to Naples, as the caravan of Champions Tour players continue to cross Alligator Alley to get ready for the 24th Ace Group Classic at the Quarry.  Yesterday in the area there were cheers and groans, as two qualifying events were conducted.  A field of 52 teed it up at Old Corkscrew in Estero, hoping to pick up one of the three remaining spots..Jim Rutledge was already in as a result of his top 10 finish  at the Allianz Championship last week.  Cheersfor the three who made it into the field for this weekend.  Fred Holton and Willie Wood fired 69’s, while Roger Chapman needed to go five extra holes to qualify.

Can anybody find “Freddie”?  We all know that defending champion Fred Couples, will stay in California to compete on the regular tour event at Riviera.  However, there’ll be another Fred that decided to forgo that long trek and will compete in the Ace Group Classic.  Many may not know that Fred Funk was the golf coach at the University of Maryland for several years.

In the Naples Daily News Amateur Shootout, four flight winners earned the right to play in Wednesday’s Pro-Am alongside Curtis Strange.

The field is now set for the First Tee Challenge which tees off at 1 P.M. this afternoon.  Representing the First Tee of Naples/Collier will be Stephanie Carlozzi and Matt Taylor. Playing along side Pennsylvania resident Jay Sigel for the First Tee of Greater Philadelphia will be Maddie Gilmartin and Louis Kelly in the three hole event starting on 16.  This is the third year for this popular event, and the first time to be a three hole contest.  Remember, admission to The Quarry today is free, so come on out and support these fine youngsters.

Speaking of working with promising youngsters, John Carroll, who was the host pro for several of the initial Classics at the Club  at Pelican Bay, is retired, but keeping his involvement in the game, as he is the Boys Golf Coach at Barron Collier High School here in Naples.

Can you name the grass that makes the tees, fairways and greens look so good.  It’s called SeaDwarf. From the  Seashore Paspalum family.  By using this one type of grass on the entire course, the grounds superintendent  can maintain all surfaces the same way.  Same fertilizer, same watering, and no encroachment from other varities of grass.  This grass was grown in Avon Park, Florida, and can be planted as sprigs, or solons and sod.  Notice the splendid green color of the course.

While the inaugural winner of this event, and a two-time champion Gary Player will compete this year, Lee Trevino will be absent, as he says he will only play one Champions Tour event this season.  Keep your eyes on Gary Player’s tee time, as he is very entertaining on the first tee.

Be sure to come out to The Quarry today, as it’s free and promises to be lot’s of fun.  Talk with you again tomorrow.  Joe Klimas

Amateur Shootout Results

Flight Winners
Receive official pro-am with Curtis Strange

1st Flight  – Jimmy Opyt –   71 net
2nd Flight – Larry Hepler –   73 net
3rd Flight  – Steve Smith –   66 net
4th Flight – Henry Hobaica – 71 net

Flight 2nd Place

1st Flight – Thomas Stead –    72 net
2nd Flight – Jim Craig –          77 net
3rd Flight – Kurt Anderson –    75 net
4th Flight – Matt McDonough – 74 net

Closest to the Pin #2 – Jim Opyt (4’2″)

Closest to the Pin #15 – Tony Defeo (7’10”)

Ladies Long Drive #17 – Elaine Thiel

Men’s Long Drive #18 – Jim Craig

Monday Qualifiers

Three professionals earned spots in The ACE Group Classic via an 18-hole qualifying round at Old Corkscrew on Monday. Jim Rutledge qualified through his top-10 finish last weekend at the Allianz Championship.

69 – Fred Holton

69 – Willie Wood

70 – Roger Chapman

Tournament Director’s Corner – UPDATED

It’s another picture perfect day here at The Quarry and you can feel the excitement building as we continue to prepare the course, start placing signage and finish all of the bleachers and hospitality areas around the course.

We’re less than one week away from tournament week and a week full of some of the biggest names on the Champions Tour playing exceptional golf here at The Quarry.

Our field list continues to get stronger with the commitments of Fuzzy Zoeller, Gary Player and Craig Stadler. Our final field list will be announced this Friday after 5pm – the deadline for the players to commit to The ACE Group Classic.

With less than a week away, ticket sales are very strong and we have some great promotions and partners who will be here for spectators to take advantage of. 

Pincher’s Crab Shack will be back once again offering some the best concessions food on the Champions Tour.

In addition, we are thrilled to have back Fifth Third Bank as a corporate partner and they are presenting Fifth Third Bank Sunday. Fifth Third Bank customers who present their Fifth Third ATM or credit card will receive free admission to Sunday’s Championship round.

The Seminole Tribe and Seminole Casino of Immokalee are also returning for Seminole Saturday with free tickets being given away at the Casino and great offers given away at the front gate on tournament Saturday.

We’re getting closer and look forward to welcoming all the spectators here come Monday !! I’ll be back to provide another update from the course this weekend !