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NOW PLAYING: 2024 Moot Thomas Invitational
12 Mar 2024
by Justin Golba of AmateurGolf.com

see also: Moot Thomas Invitational, Ocala Golf Club, Daniel Owen Rankings

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Ocala Golf Club
Ocala Golf Club

The 2024 Moot Thomas Invitational will occur from March 12 to March 14, 2024, at Ocala Golf Club in Ocala, Fla. Last year, Daniel Owen of Ocala, Fla., won by one shot after shooting a final round 5-under 67.

Canada’s Chris Kelos needed an extra hole to claim the super senior crown over recent Florida Azalea champion Marcus Beck (Tallahassee, Fla.). Kelos parred the first playoff hole after both players finished 1-over par after 54 holes.

In the legends division, Phil Pavoni of Macon, Ga., came from behind to win with a final round 3-under-par 69. Brian Sachs of Gainesville, Fla., shot a 69 to finish even par for the championship and won the Super Legends Division. The victory was Sach’s fifth Moot Thomas title. He's won 2 super senior titles, 1 legends title, and 2 super legends.

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Daniel Owen among a quarter of winners at the Moot Thomas Invitational

You can view the full 2024 field list and tee times for round one HERE. Daniel Owen is back to defend his title, along with senior champion Chris Kelos and runner-up Marcus Beck.

Beck is currently ranked No. 7 in the AmateurGolf.com Super Senior Rankings.

HISTORY

The Moot Thomas Invitational honors “The Mooter.”

As a 19-year-old private in the Air Force, on his way to Korea, he stopped in San Francisco long enough to take Gene Littler to the 18th hole of the California State Amateur Semi-Finals. He also won The All-Air Force Tournament, the Reno Amateur, and the Cal/Nevada Invitational.

In senior golf, he won the Pinehurst North-South Senior, the Florida Super Senior, and the Florida Senior 4-Ball and was the second oldest player to qualify for a USGA event. In 2009, he was inducted into the Florida State Golf Association Hall of Fame.

The tournament is played at Ocala Golf Club, the Ocala municipal course on which Moot learned the game.

COURSE

The Ocala Golf Club is in Marion County, in the City of Ocala. Ocala has played an integral role in the development of golf in Florida, dating back to the early 20th century. Ocala’s first golf course was built in the early 1900s and was originally known as the Ocala Heights Golf Club.

In the 1920s, the Pennsylvania-Florida Development Company of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, began promoting a development called Ocala Highlands. By 1925, they started constructing a clubhouse and 9-hole golf course designed by Donald McDonald of Cleveland. The Spanish Revival-style clubhouse was built on the highest spot in the southeast corner of the property. 

Despite financial troubles, the owners announced plans to build an 18-hole golf course and began construction in 1930. The golf course was designed and built under the personal supervision of E. Ellsworth Giles, a golf architect from Pittsburgh. Giles promoted himself not only as an architect but as a builder of golf courses. The Ocala Highlands Golf Course and Hotel formally opened in 1931. It was said that you could view twelve of the eighteen holes from the clubhouse.

After a decade of private ownership, the City of Ocala purchased the golf course in 1944. Four years later, they built a new clubhouse, which is where the current one is. Three holes (Nos. 10, 11, and 18) were altered to accommodate the new clubhouse.

In 2009, the municipal golf course re-opened for play following an extensive renovation by architect Michael Beebe. The renovation included new greens, tees, bunkers, irrigation, cart paths, and selective tree removal. Beebe said, “Our goal was to re-capture the classical look and strategic principles lost over the years while utilizing improved technologies in turf grass, green construction, drainage, and irrigation.” The club also re-introduced short grass around the greens to add interest to the short game.

The Ocala Golf Club includes an 18-hole, par-72 golf course featuring five sets of tees playing from 4,200 to 6,500 yards. The Tifeagle Greens provide a tight putting surface with very little grain. Short grass collection areas and white sand bunkers allow for a variety of shot options around the greens. There is no doubt that strategy is a key component of the game at Ocala Golf Club.

The expansive clubhouse includes a fully stocked Golf Shop, grill room dining and banquet area, making Ocala a natural setting for corporate outings, meetings and other social events. Ocala is teched-out with a Toptracer Range. Toptracer Range Mobile sends shot traces and detailed data directly to your phone. Hit a shot and get instant stats like ball speed, launch angle, carry, curve and more. The app then stores all that data so you can track progress and measure improvement.

Florida Historic Golf Trail contributed to this report

ABOUT THE Moot Thomas Invitational

54 hole stroke play championship for men 55 years of age or older. Super Senior division must be 65 or older, Legends division must be 70 years or older, and Super Legends must be 75 years or older. The tournament honors Moot Thomas, an Ocala native and FSGA Hall of Famer who had a lengthy and successful amateur career.

View Complete Tournament Information

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