Over 175 Golfers Tee It Up Tuesday at the 2018 Florida Senior Games

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CLEARWATER, Fla. — The fourth day of the 2018 Florida Senior Games, presented by Humana, started wet and cloudy at Countryside Country Club for the Golf competition.

The clouds cleared by midday for the 177 golfers and then returned in late afternoon with a drop-in temperature.

By 5:15 p.m., light was fading and play was suspended for a few golfers still on the course. All women’s golfers, and the majority of men, were able to complete their round. The golfers not completing their rounds will return in the morning to complete the final holes of Tuesday’s round. Then, the 36-hole competition will proceed.

The top women’s score was turned in by Deborah Whipkey, of Pensacola, with an 85. She will continue Wednesday for 36-hole competition in the 65-69 age group.

She leads her closest age group competition, after one day, Diane Zaring, of Ponta Vedra Beach, by four strokes and Janet Brown, of Lakeland, by six strokes. Whipkey won the gold medal in the 60-64 age group in the 2016 Games.

Ed Hoover, of Tallahassee, had the day’s lowest score with a 74, playing in the 70-74 age group. Hoover leads Nick Kent, of The Villages, by one stroke and return for another 18 holes. Kent won the 36-hole gold medal in the 70-74 age group in 2015 and 2016. He did not compete in the 2017 Games.

“I hit fairways and greens all day,” said Hoover, who was the manager at Tallahassee’s Killearn Country Club from 1997-2003. “My nickname is Steady Eddie. I had 15 pars. I played my game today.”

Hoover, who is playing in his first Florida Senior Games, faced tough conditions when he qualified at the Capital City Senior Games, in Tallahassee. In the March qualifier, the day started out with rain and 40-degree weather.

That experience should help Hoover on Wednesday,as temperatures in Clearwater are expected to be in the 40s when golfers tee off.

The streak continues for John Shultz, of Sarasota, who won his 26th consecutive Table Tennis medal at The Long Center on the second day of competition in age groups 70 and above.

Shultz, the 2009 Florida Senior Games Male Athlete of the Year, won the Men’s Singles gold medal in the 80-84 age group and paired with Deane Chickering, of The Villages, to win the Men’s Doubles gold in the same age group.

His streak began in 1993 while competing in the 55-59 age group, and Shultz has now won 15 Men’s Singles gold medals in six age groups. He teamed with Chickering to win their sixth men’s doubles gold medal since 2008.

The Sun City Center Women’s Doubles team of Jan Cline and Audrey Columbia won their seventh consecutive gold medal and third straight in the 80-84 age group. Cline also extended her consecutive years medal winning streak to 25 years.

A total of 134 athletes competed in the two days of Table Tennis at the Long Center.

On Men’s and Women’s Doubles Tennis Championship Day at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club, Jay Bortner & Barry Shollenberger, of Valrico, won their third consecutive men’s doubles tennis gold medal in 2018 and fourth in five years in 70-74 age group.

Bortner and Shollenberger defeated Fred King and Richard Scott in the championship match 6-3, 1-6 and 11-9 in the tiebreaker game. Bortner has won men’s doubles medals every year since 2010, in the 70-74 and 65-69 age groups, and teamed with Shollenberger to win gold in 2010, 2014.

Besides the second day of golf competition on Wednesday, Mixed Doubles Tennis begins at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club.

Over 2,600 athletes are competing in the 2018 Florida Senior Games, presented by Humana, in Clearwater and Pinellas County through December 9. The 2018 Games are a qualifier for the 2019 National Senior Games, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, June 14-25.

The 2018 Florida Senior Games, presented by Humana, are an annual presentation of the Florida Sports Foundation, the state’s leading sports promotion and development organization and are held in conjunction with Visit St. Pete Clearwater and the City of Clearwater.