PEMBROKE PINES — The 18 holes at Pembroke Lakes Golf Club filled up Feb. 8 with the debut of the Seminole Tribe’s first Chairman of the Greens Charity Golf Tournament, which drew 35 foursomes, or about 140 golfers.
No team generated a hotter round than Big Cypress Councilman Mondo Tiger, Charlie Cypress, Ricky Doctor and Mateo Jimenez. Their score of 51 was three shots clear of the nearest teams. Doctor stamped an exclamation mark on the round on the 18th green, the team’s final hole of the day, when he sank a 20-foot putt for birdie. All four golfers received large gift baskets.
Prizes were also handed out to those at the other end of the scorecard spectrum. The foursome of John Nixdorf, Jessica Kopas, Tony Sanchez Jr. and Steven Osber carded a 78, the highest score, or at least the highest score turned in, but they didn’t leave empty-handed.
No matter what the scores were on the sunshine-filled day, Chairman Marcellus W. Osceola Jr. emphasized that “everybody is a winner” because the tournament raised money for two charitable causes. Chairman Osceola told the golfers that the money will help the Native American College Fund and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).
“With Native Americans, there’s a very high rate of diabetes, both type 1 and type 2,” said Tracey Paige, executive director of the South Florida chapter of JDRF. “The Tribe has been very generous to us in the past and had given us a very generous gift several years back. Since then, we’ve had a nice relationship through the hotel and casino and we’ve done a lot of work together. They’ve continued to support us in all of our efforts.”
Paige said the money raised from the tournament will go directly to supporting projects and raising awareness about diabetes, especially type 1 diabetes.
She said JDRF’s efforts also benefit the Seminole and Miccosukee tribes.
“On a national level, we have a very big advocacy effort,” Paige said. “Every year we go up and we work with the government to get dollars allocated to the special diabetes program of which both tribes in Florida are beneficiaries. They’ve benefited from almost five million dollars from the special diabetes program dollars allocated specifically to diabetes research for Native Americans.”
After the completion of golf and lunch, JDRF ambassador Sebastian Alcala spoke to the golfers about living with type 1 diabetes as a 12-year-old. He described it as “insulin dependent diabetes,” which he was diagnosed with at age 7.
“It’s a way of life. You have to live it, and deal with the ups and downs,” he said.
But he hasn’t let it deter him from playing soccer and the piano.
“It hasn’t stopped me from doing the things I love,” he said.
Sebastian urged the golfers to join him at the One Walk fundraiser April 6 at Nova Southeastern University.