There are few destinations as special and as much fun as the Dominican Republic but for Fiddlesticks Country Club head pro Justin McCarraher the journey is the trip of a lifetime.
It is peak season at Fiddlesticks, a gated, golf community of 600 residents in Fort Myers, and the popular 39-year old spends 12-hour days hustling between the pro shop which he manages, and the course, where he gives lessons to members. But McCarraher has plenty of tournament-winning experience as well, demonstrated by his runner-up finish in the 2019 South Florida PGA Section’s Player of the Year race.
The Florida Gulf Coast University grad qualified for his first PGA Tour event at a one-day winner take all stakes in December beating out 46 other contestants. He is thrilled with the accomplishment and has high hopes of a good week.
“It’s my first time in a PGA Tour event,” said McCarraher, last week from his pro shop at Fiddlesticks. “I know some of the guys playing and hope to make the most of this opportunity. It will take my best game to compete at that level but I’ll give it my best.”
While this weekend most of the golf world will tune in to watch Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau and others play a bunch of singles matches, from $10 million purse, the proud community of Fiddlesticks, which boasts a bagpiper as its logo, will be rooting for its head pro.
It’s about 1,100 miles from Fort Myers to Punta Cana, including a two-hour flight from Miami, to get to spectacular Corales Golf Course. Longtime Fiddlesticks member Tom Buckley and a few friends gave a thought to going, but, instead will follow all the action online, and on the Golf Channel.
Buckley, a former pro hockey player and avid golfer, knows six players in the field at Corales this week.
“This week is a great opportunity, not only for some of the younger professionals, but for some who have not played on the PGA Tour on a regular basis, but have had impressive careers,” added Buckley, a partner in McWilliams & Buckley real estate company.
“Players like Jason Bohn and Carl Petersen, frequent visitors to southwest Florida, have an opportunity to step up their games at Corales Golf Club and earn a nice paycheck.
“Obviously, I’ll be watching with great interest. My good friend George McNeill is playing, who I’ve caddied for in the past at the Bermuda Open. There is a lot of pride here at Fiddlesticks to see their head pro compete in a PGA Tour event. The event has my full attention this week.”
Justin McCarraher will be paired with Hank Lebioda and Mark Anderson in the opening two rounds. His Thursday tee time is off hole No.1 at 1:24 p.m. ET.
How to Follow
TELEVISION: Thu-Fri: 10:00 a.m.-1 p.m. (GOLF); Sat: 2 p.m.-5 p.m. (GOLF); Sun: 2:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. (GOLF)