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Dinah Shore's death a jolt to golf

Cancer took more than an entertainment personality last Thursday when Dinah Shore died at age 76. Her death is a huge loss to the Ladies Professional Golf Association as it prepares for the upcoming Nabisco-Dinah Shore Invitational.

"I imagine the players on tour feel it more than other golfers," said Marion Walker, a former teaching pro at Plantation in Crystal River who now works at Orange Lake Country Club in Orlando. "(LPGA Tour players) had a wonderful friendship with Dinah and she adored all the tour players. She had especially close relationships with Nancy Lopez and Juli Inkster, so you know her passing is felt throughout the LPGA."

Inkster won the Nabisco-Dinah Shore Invitational in 1984 and 1989, and was a second-place finisher in 1992. Lopez was the tournament's champion in 1981 and a runner-up in 1979.

Dinah Shore was born Frances Rose Shore on March 1, 1917, in Winchester, Tenn. She went on to a radio and television career that included 10 Emmys and nine gold records. She was a founding member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and also wrote three best-selling cookbooks.

But the golf world will best remember her as a goodwill ambassador for the game from the time she first became affiliated with the LPGA in 1972. She loaned her name to the Colgate-Dinah Shore Winner's Circle that ran until 1981, when it became known as the Nabisco-Dinah Shore Invitational.

"The LPGA is deeply saddened by the passing of Dinah Shore," LPGA commissioner Charles Mechem Jr. said in a release. "Not only was she a great ambassador for the LPGA, but for all of golf. It is very difficult to put into words what she has meant to the LPGA. Dinah was that rare person who could touch someone's life without ever knowing them. We will miss her adventurous spirit, her wonderful sense of humor and the vigor of her friendship."

Known as the "First Lady of Golf" and an honorary member of the LPGA, Dinah Shore was recognized for her many contributions to the game last November at the Women in Golf-Summit '93 in Pebble Beach, Calif.

It's fitting that the LPGA's first major tournament of the season should be the $700,000 Nabisco-Dinah Shore Invitational. The event, which was accorded status as a major in 1983, is planned for March 24-27 at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

Cioe has two "grand" times: Crystal River's Joe Cioe picked up his second consecutive victory on the Moonlight Professional Golf Tour when he shot 3-under-par 69 Feb. 20 during a tournament at Westchase in Tampa. He was the only golfer to break par in the 11-player field and won $1,000.

The fledgling Moonlight Tour conducted a tournament Feb. 6 at Twisted Oaks in Beverly Hills, and 10 golfers participated. Cioe's 1-under-par 71 also won that event and $1,000.

Trips to the bank continued for Cioe when he earned $1,200 by tying for fourth place Feb. 21-23 in a Spalding Space Coast Tour event at Grenelefe Resort in Haines City. His rounds of 69-70-72 gave him a 3-under-par 211, two shots off the winning pace.

Tony Bell of Tampa, Thomas Scherrer of Skaneateles, N.Y., and Tony Soerries of Granger, Ind., all shot 209 in regulation and went into a sudden-death playoff at Grenelefe. Bell won and got $4,000 while Scherrer and Soerries each received $1,750.

Elks tourney: Registration continues for the fourth annual West Citrus Elks of Homosassa Springs Spring Scramble March 14 at 10 a.m. at Pine Ridge.

A blind drawing to form teams will be held next Monday at the Elks lodge, so members and their guests should sign up this week. Entry fee is $25 per person, including cart rental, prizes, and beverages and snacks after the tournament at the lodge.

Get entry forms by calling Ray Pozezinski at 382-5718, Allen Case at 382-3974 or Dick Smith at 382-8967.