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2007 Champions Ready to Defend Their Title


May 14th, 2008 - Hobe Sound, FLA, May 14, 2008 - It only took a matter of days before the roster was full for the John McDonald Company Mid Senior Four-Ball, the Palm Beach Golf Association's event scheduled May 24 and 25 at McArthur Golf Course in Hobe Sound.

Defending champions Matt Ribakoff of Jupiter and Rick Wentworth of Stuart were among the first to sign up and are ready to retain their crown as they work toward this tournament. "We signed up quickly, since we are defending champions, and we want to see if we can do it again. We knew it would fill up because everyone likes playing on the McArthur Golf Course," said Wentworth.

The tournament, which is open to men golfers 40 and older, is sponsored for the first time by the John McDonald Company, a luxurious custom homebuilder based in Jupiter.

Tommy Belen, the executive director of the Palm Beach County Golf Association agreed with Wentworth. "McArthur is a new course for us, and that helped sell it out," he said.

Team Ribakoff-Wentworth may have an advantage in this tournament, at least they hope they do: McArthur Golf Course is Wentworth's home course.

"We're going to make our best effort to win the tournament," said Wentworth, 59. "The hardest part about this tournament is that it is a very challenging course, not like a typical Florida course. The greens are fast, so your short game is in demand, and there is a premium on driving the ball because of the length of the course and its undulations. You have to hit your drive in the right place to hit your second shot in."

Ribakoff, 45, and Wentworth have been playing together for about four years, and they often partner together for tournaments.

"Rick and I played at a fundraiser at McArthur," said Ribakoff, "and we met through that event. I play a fair amount of golf with Rick. The people are great at McArthur and the course is in fantastic shape, but it is a tough course."

Ribakoff said that the draw for the John McDonald Company tournament was the McArthur Golf Course.

"It's a private course, so not many people get to play it. Everyone wanted to play this course for the Mid Senior Four-Ball," said Ribakoff. "I've just joined Jupiter Country Club, so I'm hoping to get Rick out there to play a few times before we play at McArthur together." Wentworth said the two golfers seem to team well together.

"He's a far better player than I am," said Wentworth. "When he doesn't excel on a hole, I seem to be able to support him most of the time. Wentworth has a 3 handicap, while Ribakoff is a scratch golfer.

The Palm Beach County Golf Associations hosts golf tournaments throughout the area, to promote the game of golf to all levels of play and help raise funds for college scholarships, Belen said.

"We have about 600 members, and most of our members play in the events throughout the year. We have a junior event and five senior events for guys 50 and older, so not all golfers are eligible to play in all tournaments," Belen said.

Last year, there was $22,000 raised for scholarships to 13 area high school seniors who either live in Palm Beach or Martin counties, and who will be entering college the following year. It is based on obvious financial need and on grades, with a scholarship committee choosing the students.

Dennis McDonald, president of the John McDonald Company said the scholarships raised through the tournaments present a special incentive for local companies to become involved."We like knowing that our participation in this year's Mid Senior Four Ball Tournament helps the golf association raise funds so that kids in our own area get a chance to go to college. No one really knows how much that extra boost of a scholarship helps a student and his family realize the dream of a college education. For some kids, it's the difference between going on to college and not having the chance," said McDonald. "This tournament is a great way for our company to give back to the community that has been so supportive of our efforts over the years."

For more information about the Palm Beach County Golf Association and their upcoming schedule of tournaments, log onto www.pbcga.org.

About Palm Beach Golf Association - Since 1976, the Palm Beach County Golf Association has been a cornerstone to golfers residing in Palm Beach County. The PBCGA is a 501C-3 non-profit organization. Located in the "Golf Capital of the World," the PBCGA has over 700 members and conducts approximately 21 tournaments per year and are committed to providing college scholarships to needy and worthy students and to promoting junior golf throughout the county.