ShopRite Pro-Am

Press sports columnist Dave Weinberg (second from left) joined Brittany Mai (center) in the ShopRite LPGA Classic Pro-Am Wednesday.

A few readers were so upset with my critical views of President Donald Trump recently that they suggested a variety of ways for me to spend my time.

I can’t do them all but will attempt to take a flying leap.

Weather permitting Sunday, I will join 1,700 others and jump 12 feet into the Delaware Bay off the bow of a Cape May-Lewes Ferry vessel for the start of the sixth annual Escape the Cape Triathlon.

It will be my fourth year doing the race. My goal is to finish the sprint division and have enough energy left to hit the after party at Harpoon’s on the Bay.

Others suggested I stick my golf clubs where the sun don’t shine. That’s a pretty broad range of potential targets, considering the sun hasn’t shone in these parts since April.

But I did put my sticks to use last Wednesday as a participant in the Pro-Am for the ShopRite LPGA Classic, which is scheduled end Sunday at Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club.

Although I didn’t play particularly well, I had a blast, which is why the ShopRite Classic’s pro-am always ranks as the most popular event on all three — LPGA, PGA, Senior PGA — major golf tours.

Once again, 300 groups of five golfers — four amateurs and a pro — played on Seaview’s Pines and Bay courses, as well as at Galloway National Golf Club.

Thankfully, I was not assigned to Galloway, which is the most difficult course I have ever played, and that includes Pine Valley. I teed it up on the Pines course with Brittany Mai, a former golfer at UCLA who celebrated her 25th birthday Wednesday with a bunch of guys old enough to be her father.

Perhaps because of the generation gap, Brittany was a bit on the shy side, but we still had fun. Each hole had an array of drinks, plus hot dogs, soft pretzels and protein bars.

I dug my hand into a cooler, pulled out a bottle of coconut water and blanched. I’ve tried it a few times, and it reminds me of the prep you have to drink before a CAT scan, though not quite as tasty.

“I drink it all the time,” Brittany said while taking a swig. “I’m from the San Diego-L.A. area, and that’s what we do out there.”

I promptly introduced her to what we do out here by taking a bite out of a Philly soft pretzel while mustard dripped onto my shirt. My cart partner and I also convinced her to order a cheesesteak before she left town.

Because she was not in the field for the ShopRite Classic, she was flying home Friday. She played in the Monday qualifier but encountered another South Jersey specialty, the knee-high fescue that can swallow golf balls like I swallowed that pretzel.

I also had a blast at the Pro-Am party later Wednesday at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. It featured an open bar, plus an array of food ranging from barbecued salmon to a separate station that included piles of Tater Tots, pulled pork and Buffalo-spiced chicken.

Three guys from Kentucky joined me at a standup table. They explained that they are in the horse industry and were playing in the pro-am before heading to New York for Saturday’s Belmont Stakes.

“Justify drew the rail, but it won’t matter,” one of them told me while stuffing his 25th tater tot into his mouth. “He’s gonna win easy because he’s that good.”

“These Tater Tots are amazing,” one of his friends said. “If you don’t have Tater Tots on your plate, you’re not a man.”

I excused myself for a moment and returned with some Tater Tots on a plate in hopes of fitting in with the group, though I had no intention of eating any. I didn’t want to spoil my appetite before I tried the coconut gelato over at the dessert table.

I’m assuming that’s what one reader meant when he told me to stuff it.

David Weinberg’s Extra Points column appears Wednesdays and Sundays in The Press.

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Contact: 609-272-7201 DWeinberg@pressofac.com Twitter @PressACWeinberg

Sportswriter/columnist

Member of The Press sports staff since 1986, starting my 27th season as The Press Eagles' beat writer. Also cover boxing, MMA, golf, high school sports and everything else.

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