The 18th hole at the Joe Rizzo Memorial Golf Classic was designated as the Joe Rizzo Hole.
Organizers of the event felt there was no better way to honor the late executive director of the Flagler County Education Foundation than to have a heckler at the tee box.
Jeff Johnson, one of Rizzo’s best friends, took up the post with gusto.
“If I could make a living off heckling, I’d be a millionaire,” said Johnson, who works in tech support for Flagler Schools.
There is an art to golf heckling, Johnson said. It’s all about the timing. While heckling during the backswing is forbidden in golf. That’s not the case on the Joe Rizzo Hole.
“I’ll say, ‘You da man,’ or ‘Get in the hole,’ during their backswing,” Johnson said. “I take pride in the fact that I’m obnoxious.”
The Ed Foundation’s 33rd annual golf tournament is all about having fun and raising money for Flagler Schools. It is the biggest fund raiser of the year for the organization.
Teresa Rizzo, who replaced her husband as the Ed Foundation’s executive director, said the April 3 event at Grand Haven Golf Club raised over $100,000 for STEM programs and math and literacy nights.
Joe Rizzo took over the tournament before he became the foundation’s executive director when he was on its board of directors.
“Joe’s goal was to make this the best golf tournament in Flagler County, and I think we attained that,” Teresa Rizzo said.
Joe’s goal was to make this the best golf tournament in Flagler County, and I think we attained that. — TERESA RIZZO
Joe Rizzo died on March 7, 2022, shortly before last year’s tournament, and the tournament was renamed in his honor.
This year was officially the second annual Joe Rizzo Memorial Golf Classic. Eighty-eight golfers, 36 sponsors including over 20 hole sponsors and over 20 annual partners helped make the event a success.
The foursome of Tracy Baker, Allen Bertha, Terry Baker and Steve Allen won the tourney, which also included a silent auction.
The sponsors helped provide the players with food and drink on every hole and swag, Teresa Rizzo said.
“They’re pretty much outfitted when they come here,” she said.
The tournament is bittersweet for many of the participants who were friends of Joe Rizzo.
“Joe is sorely missed,” Johnson said. “I enjoy coming to this. It makes me remember Joe.”
The Flagler County Rotary Club recognized Flagler Palm Coast senior Emma Swearingen as its Student Athlete of the Month at its regular meeting on March 28.
Swearingen is a four-year varsity soccer player and also plays flag football. She will earn her International Baccalaureate degree in June. She has been nominated for an Air Force Academy appointment from U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz.
Her community service includes raising money for the Children’s Miracle Network and tutoring students in math.
She plans to play soccer in college and become a pilot.
PIRATES RANKED 13TH IN THE NATION
The honors keep coming in for the Matanzas girls wrestling team which won the state championship March 4.
USA Wrestling's final high school rankings of the year lists Matanzas as the No. 13 girls team in the nation. The Pirates were an honorable mention in the previous top 40 list.
Matanzas is the highest ranked team in the Southeast.
SEABREEZE 6TH IN ACADEMIC TEAM STANDINGS
Seabreeze's winter sports teams placed sixth overall among Class 5A schools in the Florida High School Athletic Association's Winter Academic Team Champions awards.
The Sandcrabs' girls basketball team was the state's team academic champion with a team GPA of 3.69.
Seabreeze's girls soccer team placed second among 5A teams with a 3.71 GPA, while the boys basketball team was fourth with a 3.42 GPA and the boys soccer team was ninth with a 3.27 GPA.
FPC TOPS FLEMING ISLAND
FPC's baseball team ended a two-game losing streak and improved to 9-8 on the season with a 4-2 victory over Fleming Island on April 3 at the Bulldogs' field.
FPC scored all four of its runs in the first inning against the Golden Eagles (11-5). Dalton Roberts doubled and drove in three runs for the Bulldogs. Connor May also drove in a run.
Cody Clymer pitched 6.2 innings. Clymer scattered eight hits and did not walk a batter. The junior had five strikeouts.
FPC has three more home games over the next week beginning Thursday, April 6, against Winter Springs. The Bulldogs host Wheeler County, Georgia, on April 7 and Pine Ridge on Monday, April 10.
PIRATES EDGE PANTHERS
Matanzas' baseball team held off Palatka 3-2 on March 31. The Panthers scored a run in the top of the seventh on a wild pitch but pitcher Ben Apfelbach induced the final batter to fly out to left field.
Gabe Breckenridge and Braden Russell each had three hits for the Pirates. Breckenridge scored two runs.
Matanzas hosts Seabreeze at 7 p.m. Friday, April 7.