Shot after shot flew short, to the right, to the left or a little too long.
Then Bradenton’s Jeff Cverdlow stepped into the makeshift tee box in the fairway of The Concession Golf Club’s 18th hole.
With spectators comprising participants in this year’s Callaghan Tire Charity Pro-Am Golf Tournament, Cverdlow gave them the biggest thrill during the $100,000 shootout event.
The hole-in-one contest concluded the charity tournament, which has raised $120,000 each of the last six to eight years for cancer research. In the past, $100,000 was donated to the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa and $20,000 to the Dattoli Cancer Center in Sarasota.
Cverdlow, despite needing to borrow a Mizuno 6-iron since his clubs were stashed away following the tournament, struck a solid shot from 150 yards away that landed a little left of the cup and trickled to within 3 feet.
“It was the best shot I’ve hit all day,” Cverdlow said. “... I knew it was going that way. I was playing the break.”
Four amateurs and four pros took cracks at acing the shot, but it was Cverdlow that bested each one with the closest effort.
Among the pros that he topped was Robert Gamez, who earned some consolation with two closest to the pin wins on Nos. 6 and 11.
“It’s not intimidating when you’ve got nothing to lose,” Cverdlow said. “All you do have is something to gain. ... You just get up there and hit it. It’s all luck.”
The winning team included Joe Esposito, Robert Simes, Jay Heagarty, Steve Stafford and pro Doug Johnson.
The amateur team fired identical 123s at Lakewood Ranch Country Club with pro Gibby Gilbert in Monday’s first round and at The Concession in Tuesday’s final round with Johnson.
They collected $700 per person in a pro shop credit for winning and also will get their names etched into the championship trophy.
On the pro side, Carl Mason won the division with a two-day 251 total.
Betty Callaghan, one of the tournament organizers, said the total money raised from this year’s event was not known yet.
The tournament pitted four amateurs of different skill levels together with a different pro each day.
Professionals included the likes of Bradenton resident Tony Jacklin and Anna Maria Island resident Hollis Stacy.
Both are in the World Golf Hall of Fame.
“It’s extremely satisfying to be with the Callaghans,” Stacy said. “Because they are such a wonderful family.”
Also on hand was Dow Finsterwald, who didn’t play.
Finsterwald won the 1958 PGA Championship and claimed several other PGA Tour victories during an illustrious career.
“I think it’s one of the wonderful things golf has had the opportunity to be a vehicle (for) in many instances, to raise money for wonderful charities,” Finsterwald said.