Ocala Open

By Matt Hibbs

How would you like to be standing over a 10-foot putt with a chance to win $12,000? Year after year, that’s what the Ocala Open presents to up-and-coming professional golfers.

Wednesday, March 13 through Friday, March 15, Candler Hills Golf Club will host its 13th annual Ocala Open. The Ocala Open is a professional golf tournament run by Rick Hendershot, director of the Florida Professional Golf Tour. Each year, a field of 144 professional golfers competes for a chance to win the first place prize of $12,000.

We have had many great players come to Candler Hills to compete in this prestigious event. Current PGA Tour player, Ted Potter Jr. won back-to-back championships in 2012 and 2013, Dan McCarthy won back-to-back Opens in 2015 and 2016. Most recently, Kevin Aylwin won with a score of 199 (14 under par).

For a true first class experience visit the VIP tent adjacent to the 18th green. This beautiful viewing area is setup for spectators who wish to relax under a tent while watching these spectacular golfers compete for the Ocala Open championship. Tickets for this luxurious seating area can be purchased in the Candler Hills Golf Shop. A portion of the ticket proceeds goes to the charities.

The most important part of the Ocala Open is the charity Pro-Am. Annually, the Pro-Am is the biggest fundraiser in Ocala. With the support of local vendors and residents, we were able to raise $85,000 for charity last year and presented both Interfaith Emergency Services and Hospice of Marion County a check for $42,500 each. To date, the Ocala Open has donated over $573,000 to local charities. This event has not only become a tradition at On Top of the World, but a staple to our community.

Interested in participating in the Pro-Am to help support these great organizations? This year’s Pro-Am will be played on Tuesday, March 12. The entry deadline is Monday, March 4 and is limited to 30 teams. If you would like more information, please visit ocalaopen.com or contact Director of Golf Matt Hibbs at (352) 854-2765.

To orchestrate an event of this stature, you must have exceptional employees and that’s something we certainly have at On Top of the World. Every year, our employees put in countless hours to ensure the event’s success. Andy Jorgensen and his maintenance staff do a wonderful job preparing the course. The players rave about how well maintained Candler Hills Golf Course is and in particular the greens. We can’t forget about the 30 volunteers who so graciously donate their time to make sure the players have an enjoyable experience. Thank you to all for your continued support of this charitable event.

Candler Hills Golf Club is proud to annually present the Ocala Open. We have fine-tuned the event over the years and it has become not only one of the best professional golf events in Ocala, but all of Florida. Please take time out of your busy schedule to come watch these players compete for this year’s Ocala Open title.