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Moonlight tour making several stops in area

The Moonlight Pro Golf Tour, one of the most-played mini-tours in the state, made a recent stop at Silver Oaks Golf Club in Zephyrhills and has a series of other local stops on the horizon.

In fact, the Moonlight Tour will make nine more stops in Brooksville, Zephyrhills and Wesley Chapel by the end of the season, including its Tampa Bay Open event to be held at Silver Oaks in December.

The Moonlight Tour offers a pretty solid payout for golfers, and holds events almost on a daily basis. For example, in November the tour has 21 events, including stops at Silver Oaks on the 12th, 26th and 28th and at Quail Hollow in Wesley Chapel on the 11th.

Sunday, Dick Bullock of Lakeland won the event at Silver Oaks, pocketing $200. Jimmy Gleason of Zephyrhills shot a 72 and took third place and $100.

The Moonlight Tour is the creation of Frank and Mary Magee, who started it years ago with the intent of giving golfers affordable stroke-play tournaments to enter. Entry fees are $60.

This year, the Magees have added a new wrinkle _ the NEXT! Tour (or No-Exemptions Tour), which offers bigger purses but a steeper entry fee.

For example, each NEXT! event is essentially two Moonlight events. On Tuesday a Moonlight event was held at Ridgewood Lakes in Davenport and Wednesday another was held at Remington in Kissimmee. Combined, the two tournaments made up a NEXT! event, meaning that if a player wanted to compete in the Moonlight events it cost $60 each day, and if he wanted to be included in NEXT! competition the cost is an extra $120. A player's scores from the Moonlight count in NEXT!

Confusing? Slightly, but so far the response has been good. Of the 23 players who took part Tuesday and Wednesday, 11 ponied up for the NEXT! event, which paid $1,000 to the winner.

"The NEXT! is kind of riding piggyback on the Moonlight Tour," Mary Magee said. "But they are two separate things. The Moonlight is to keep your expenses down, the NEXT! is to test and profit and win a little bit more money."

While the Moonlight Tour will visit Pasco County, the NEXT! doesn't this year. The closest stop it makes is Nov. 4 and 5 at Bloomingdale and Sherman Hills in Brooksville respectively. A one-day NEXT! event also is scheduled for World Woods on Dec. 21.

UPCOMING: The Suncoast Girl Scout Council will host its seventh annual benefit tournament Nov. 17 at the Bayou Club in Largo. Funds raised from this four-person scramble benefit more than 15,000 Scouts in Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties.

The entry fee is $100 and includes a boxed lunch prior to the tournament and a buffet afterward.

MEADOW OAKS LESSONS: Meadow Oaks is offering adult golf lessons beginning Nov. 7 with instructor Buzz Walker. Each session will consist of three 1{-hour lessons. The cost is $40 per session. The schedule is as follows:

Level I, Beginner _ Nov. 7, 14 and 21 or Dec. 5, 12 and 19 from 9-10:30 a.m. Level II, Short game _ Nov. 7, 14 and 21 or Dec. 5, 12 and 19 from 11-12:30 p.m. Level III, Intermediate with woods _ Nov. 7, 14 and 21 or Dec. 5, 12 and 19 from 1:30-3 p.m.

For more information, please call 856-2878.