July 23--THE Marathon Classic offers so much more than just watching the Ladies Professional Golf Association players compete. It is also a charity event and this year will cross the $10 million mark for funds raised for children's charities.
Major sponsors Owens Corning and Owens-Illinois. PNC, ProMedica, Hylant, Dana, the Image Group, KeyBank, and Buckeye Broadband chipped in for pro-ams preceding the tournament. Also on par were the hundreds of community sponsors and volunteers.
The Huntington Gala Dinner in honor of the Marathon Classic drew 1,700 supporters Tuesday night at SeaGate Center.
Emcee Kristi Leigh of WTOL-TV, Channel 11, greeted everyone as did Joel Jerger, commercial banking regional manager for Huntington Bank.
Gary Heminger, chairman and CEO of Marathon Petroleum, announced that Marathon will be the title sponsor for the 2021 Solheim Cup women's international tournament at Inverness Club. Toledo has earned the Solheim after its 30-plus years of LPGA support, he said. Unlike at the Marathon Classic, quiet signs will not be used at the Solheim because cheering and singing will be encouraged.
Dan Cummins of WTOL-TV, Channel 11, who has covered the Marathon Classic since its inception, introduced defending champion Lydia Ko, who was glad to be back in Toledo.
In its more than 30-year history, the Marathon Classic has been attended each year by women golfers from 30 different countries, said LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan.
The 2017 Jamie Farr Scholarship Fund recipients were introduced: Alexandrea Derrer of Cardinal Stritch High School, Nikole Hartung of Clinton High School, Elizabeth Kolbe of Napoleon High School, Brittany Lipper of Clay High School, and Mary-Catherine Scarlett, home-schooled.
Judd Silverman, tournament director, said Jamie Farr has often brought celebrities to past tournaments, and this year the tradition continued with Wounded Warrior Dan Nevins, who was greeted with cheers and whistles. Mr. Nevins, who believes life and freedom are gifts and we need to work hard to keep them, did not charge a speakers fee. His message was about dealing with the many changes in his life through yoga, and he said he is honored to have been a serviceman and to continue serving our country as a civilian. "You are the warriors," he said to all those who work to make lives better as he received a standing ovation.
Comedian Ryan Hamilton entertained with clean humor and stories of riding in a hot air balloon, which he described as a wicker basket with a flame above, and holding on for dear life while skydiving.
The evening included dinner and an auction via Qtego Auction Services and ended with dancing to the Libido band from Miami, sponsored by Bouchard Transportation.
Among the crowd were Solheim Cup Tournament Chairman Richard Hylant and his wife Clare, Bill and Kristi Green, Bruce and Lisa Umbleby, Don and Mary Decker, Keith and Susan Burwell, Jeff Cole, Bob and Kim LaClair, Meg Ressner, Randy and Kris Jones, Jim and Kelley Grzywinski, Joe and Sue Sweeney, and Bob and Rachel Hippert.
If you go to the tournament, in addition to great golf and hob-nobbing there will be a KidsZone presented by Valpak, a golf simulator presented by Marathon, mascots, food, and souvenir shops. Of course, it all depends on the weather.
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