Former golf greats still have drive at Rex Open

Staff WriterMay 27, 2009 

  • WHAT: PGA Nationwide Tour charity golf event benefiting Rex Healthcare support programs and community services

    WHERE: TPC Wakefield Plantation, 2201 Wakefield Plantation Dr., Raleigh

    WHEN: today, Rex Hospital Open Pro-Am (8 a.m., 1:15); Thursday-Sunday, Rex Hospital Open

    TICKETS: all-events pass $10 (buy-one, get-one coupon online); parking free

    CONTACT: 919-784-4471, www.rex , www.tpcatwakefield

Legendary golfers such as former Masters winner Bob Goalby and former U.S. Open winner Gene Littler joined the field at the Rex Hospital Open's Grand Champions Pro-Am on Tuesday at The Hasentree Club.

"We still love to play golf," said Goalby, who won the Masters in 1968 and is 80 years old. "I recently had my hip replaced, and I'm still out here swinging."

The Rex Hospital Open, a professional golf tournament that features players from the Nationwide Tour, starts on Thursday at TPC Wakefield Plantation. The charity event helps raise funds for Rex Heathcare and has generated more than $5 million in net proceeds for community programs.

The Champions Pro-Am is part of the week's activities, drawing fans who want to see some of golf's former greats. On Tuesday, the format was five-player, best-ball scramble over nine holes.

Goalby's group, plugging through the rain, finished first with a combined score of 55, and Litter and Jim Feree tied for second after their groups shot 57s.

Other former legendary PGA Tour golfers participating were Masters champion Billy Casper, PGA champions Dow Finsterwald, Doug Ford and Don January and U.S. Open champion Jack Fleck. Also in the field was Lee Elder.

"These four or five events we play in each year gives us old guys a chance to get together and see each other, travel and play golf," Littler said. "I started playing with these guys in the mid-1950s, and we've kept playing together ever since. There's a great camaraderie with these guys."

Added Elder: "I'm still playing golf and enjoying golf. My score is in the mid-70s. Even at the age of 74, I'm still shooting in the mid-70s." or 919-829-4781

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