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Peete Classic raises money for scholarships
October 24, 2018

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Calvin Peete was always an advocate for education.

So, it's fitting that proceeds from the 2018 Calvin Peete Classic Golf Tournament will help high school students receive a scholarship to college.

The charity event, held at Magnolia Landing, honored Peete, a former North Fort Myers resident, and one of the most successful golfers in PGA history.

Calvin Peete was born in Detroit, Michigan. He was dubbed Mr. Accuracy because he had a knack for consistently hitting the ball onto the fairway.

Toward the end of the 20th century, Peete had become the most successful African American golfer on the PGA Tour. His 12 wins and record would only be surpassed by none other than Tiger Woods. Overall, Peete hit an impressive 84.55 percent of fairways in 87 PGA Tour rounds.

The event featured a luncheon, raffle and award ceremony. Seventy-two golfers attended in 2017 and 79 came out for the Peete Classic's second run this year.

The tournament was a four-golfer scramble, best-ball, with a $10,000 hole-in-one. Prizes were given out for closest to the pin, longest drive and there was also a putting contest.

The net proceeds went to the North Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce Foundation, which organized the event. The chamber helps high school students in the North Fort Myers area attain college scholarships to any school in the U.S. This year's goal was to raise $10,000.

North Fort Myers Chamber President Lenny Cannova, said he didn't have an official tally on Saturday but, "With the extra golfers and raffle tickets being sold, I think we might come close to it with the extra golfers."

Calvin's widow, Pepper Peete, feels honored and appreciative to the North Fort Myers community for continuing to honor her husband's legacy.

"The kids can really feel proud of that, too," she said.

Peete played with her daughter, Aisha Peete, and one of her best friends of 22 years.

"What else can you do where you can spend four hours with people you enjoy and people you have fun?" she said. "It was really great."

Tom Jenks attended the charity event this year for the first time.

"It was well-organized," he said. "Everyone teed off at the same time. The weather was fantastic."

The mood at the event was light and attendees had no problem celebrating a man so worthy of the admiration.

After lunch, plaques were given to sponsors and awards were given out to golfers. Raffle winners were announced. One woman even won five separate times.

Despite the desire to help get more students into college, John Gardner, of Lee County Insurance Agency, said one issue the chamber ran into was getting students to apply for the scholarship.

"We struggled hard with that," he said.

The scholarship is open to North Fort Myers residents, Gardner said. "As long as you live in North Fort Myers, you're eligible, even if you attend a private school."

Steven Cichielo's daughter was given a scholarship last year to attend Florida State University.

"She was excited," he said. "It alleviated the burden of how to pay for classes because she's paying for it out of pocket."

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