By Gary Smits, Jacksonville
April 15, 2015


Curtis Dvorak is nearly a scratch golfer.

He’s also pretty good when he suits up as Jaguars mascot Jaxson de Ville.

With a list of competitors including professionals who have won on the PGA Tour, Champions Tour and Web.com Tour, Dvorak/de Ville won the fifth 17th Hole Charity Challenge on Wednesday at the TPC Sawgrass Players Stadium Course. His best shot of 4 feet, 9 inches was the closest to the pin at the Island Green, nosing out past Champions Tour Winner Bob Duval (6-4) and two-time PGA Tour winner Len Mattiace (8-3).

HOLE IN FUN: The Players Championship 17th Hole Charity Challenge

The Big Cat also finished ahead of defending champion and Pride of the Jaguars member Tony Boselli, kicker Josh Scobee, quarterback Blake Bortles and coach Gus Bradley.

Jaxson used a pitching wedge for the 117-yard shot, with the hole cut on front of the green. He used only one of his allowable two attempts, slam-dunking his club when the distance was reported.

The Cat then started showing off for a crowd Players officials estimated at around 250: he took two swings at the hole on his knees, using a driver. The first shot went into the water.

The second one went onto the green about 20 feet from the hole.

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“I can’t believe I lost to a guy in a clown suit,” Duval said.

Jaxson’s shot earned the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund $10,000 donated by The Players Championship. Jeff Klauk, one of the five competitors who advanced to the consolation round, hit the closet shot of the day at 3-5 and earned $5,000 for the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida.

“I’ve been trying to win this for coach Coughlin and the Jay Fund since it started,” Dvorak said. “It’s amazing that he keeps coming back to Jacksonville and doing what he does for the charity, and I really wanted this for Keli [Coughlin, the Jay Fund’s executive director] and the Jay Fund.”

Dvorak said he’s played at so many charity functions dressed as the Cat that he’s gotten better hitting in the suit. In past 17th Hole Challenges, he said he had to hit two or three clubs more to get to the green.

“Now it’s only about a half-club more,” he said.”

Some competitors found the water with their two attempts, including Bradley.

When his second shot skipped across the water, event announcer Doug Kidd said: “That’s OK, coach. We know you’ll take care of the team better.”

Players Championship executive director Matthew Rapp said the Charity Challenge, which had 15 area athletes and media competing, has become an entertaining prelude to Players week, which begins with Military Appreciation Day on May 5. The competitive rounds will be May 7-10.

“It’s a nice kickoff to The Players,” he said. “It’s fun. It’s golf, and it’s for the charity and community. That’s what The Players is all about.”

Read more here: http://jacksonville.com/sports/football/jaguars/2015-04-15/story/jaxson-de-ville-wins-17th-hole-charity-challenge

Carson Pedraza

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