Fourth annual Island School Million Dollar Shootout a raving success

February 17, 2017
By Marcy Shortuse

The Island School, a tuition-free charter school for grades K-5,  held the fourth annual $1,000,000 Golf Shootout last week on a blustery winter day at The Gasparilla Inn & Club’s golf course. The funds raised by this popular event are a vital component in providing financial stability for The Island School, Lee County’s first charter school.
The event was sold out and consisted of 23 teams, each with 6 players, who participated in a par-3 scramble format on February 9 at The Gasparilla Inn Golf Club.
The golfers competed for $10,000 hole-in-one prizes on 18 holes of play as well as a chance to qualify for the $1,000,000 Shootout. The 18 players closest to each pin during the round of play competed in the $1,000,000 Shootout and won a Titleist golf bag bearing The Island School logo.
There were no winners in the $1,000,000 Shootout. Terry Dunaway of Boca Grande won the $10,000 awarded to the person hitting closest to the pin in the final shootout.
Team prizes were also awarded. The first-place men’s team was captained by Pete Nicholas and included Bruce Birgbauer, Doug Coe, Shannon Coe, Billy Finlayson and Ted Lilly.
The first-place women’s team captained by Vicki Deboest consisted of Sharon Cruz, Kathy Kessel, Mary Kupersmith, Sue Wiedemer, Kathy Urban and Georgia Yusk. Their names will be added to the Archie van Beuren perpetual trophy at The Island School.
Rick Allen successfully beat three other qualifiers for a cash prize in the putting contest. Scotty Cameron putters were awarded to individual players closest to the pin on specific holes. They were won by Tom Ervin, David Hayes, Stewart Kirkland and Howard Wise.
The event was supported by many local sponsors, including The Gasparilla Inn & Club (title sponsor). Presenting sponsors were Ginny & August Busch, Kate & Bruce Carbonari, Sarah & Will Farish, Ginny & Pete Nicholas, Jeanie & Bayne Stevenson, and the Hager family. The Harrison Foundation was the Million Dollar Shootout sponsor. Fran & John Edwardson sponsored the putting contest; Hudson’s Grocery was the golf ball sponsor; Donna Moore – Gulf to Bay/Sotheby’s International Realty was the cart and scorecard sponsor; Mary Ann & Michael Van Lokeren were the player gift sponsor; and the Hager family sponsored the volunteer gift.
More than 40 local businesses and families made vital contributions to the day’s success by participating as pin and hole sponsors. These sponsors attended the cocktail reception and watched the exciting shootout at the end of the afternoon. The financial generosity of these sponsors insures that an outstanding educational experience is possible at the tuition-free Island School.
The golf shootout would not be possible without the hard work of over 70 volunteers who help run the tournament by registering players, running the putting contest, provisioning the golf carts, and making the all-important measurements on the green. Important thanks also go to the staff of The Gasparilla Inn and Golf Course.  Island School parent Melissa Steyer photographed the action.
This popular event has been scheduled for next year on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018. Many teams have already signed up to play again next year to once again support the educational mission of The Island School. Golf tournament information is available by contacting Brent Cross at