Golf tournament benefits American Cancer Society

HOOVER – The inaugural Inverness vs. Cancer golf tournament on April 1 honored three-time PGA Tour winner and long-time Inverness Country Club golf pro Dave Ragan Jr., and generated about $10,000 for the American Cancer Society.

The winning team included Peter Pastor, Mike Sampsell, Hugh O’Shea and Dillon Sampsell, said Cliff Lumpkin with Inverness Country Club.

About 70 golfers participated, including two of Ragan’s sons. The late golfer’s wife Geraldine was also in attendance.

Entry fee was $150 for each golfer, and hole sponsorships were available for $250 per hole, with all proceeds to be donated to the American Cancer Society in honor of Ragan, who died in 2018 after a battle with cancer at age 82.

A native of Daytona Beach, Florida, Ragan played collegiately at the University of Florida before turning pro in 1956 and winning three times on the PGA Tour.

Ragan finished second to Jack Nicklaus in the 1963 PGA Championship and was a member of the 1963 Ryder Cup team.

Ragan was recognized by Golf Digest magazine as one of the top golf instructors in Alabama in 2007, during his about 20 years at Inverness Country Club.

Troy Raybon, director of golf at the club, said he first met Ragan while Raybon was playing at UAB.

“He just exemplified a professional and a gentleman,” Raybon said. “You’ve never met anybody better than Dave. He’s the only person I ever knew who I never heard anybody say an unkind word about.”

After Ragan’s passing, club officials knew they wanted to do something to honor him, and the feeling was reinforced by numerous club members asking if there were any plans to do so.

“We’ve had several members who have dealt with cancer and asked what we were going to do for [Ragan],” Raybon said. “It’s a community atmosphere-type club.”