Outstanding Collegiate Players and Area Pros to be Showcased
Bonita Springs, October 11, 2019 – From the speed and power of outstanding local and national college players to the more experienced skills and showmanship of area pros, the Bonita Bay Club will soon showcase an impressive variety of high-quality tennis via two major tournaments in a span of two weeks.
The nearby Florida Gulf Coast University men’s and women’s tennis teams, captained by C.J. Weber and Courtney Vernon, respectively, will take on counterparts from the universities of Memphis, Louisville, Minnesota and Connecticut plus Purdue University in the FineMark FGCU Collegiate Open from November 1 to 3. Then, more than 50 outstanding pros and other recreational players will compete in the 39th annual Naples-Fort Myers Challenge, one of the longest-running events of its kind, on November 16.
Paula Scheb, a USPTA Master Professional and director of sports at Bonita Bay Club, attests the events pose both specific and broad appeal. “The FGCU teams both have strong fan bases and members of the clubs where the pros work and teach are loyal and passionate followers of them. Further, this is a dream for all tennis fans to see such a variety of playing styles, the immense talents of all of the schools during three days and then the pros ‘practicing what they preach’.”
The format for the Collegiate Open will be round-robin play with eight singles and four doubles positions per team with results posing national ranking implications for the players.
Bonita Bay Club members have donated approximately $90,000 to scholarships for both of the FGCU teams over the years; an on-campus court is named for the club.
Launched in 1981 by Ted Norris, the first director of tennis at the Naples Bath and Tennis Club, the Challenge has fulfilled its original mission of connecting with Collier and Lee county players. The Bonita Bay Club is an ideal setting as it’s centrally located within the entire region for many pros and fans.
Further, with the club having 18 Har-Tru courts, 14 separate matches encompassing men’s and women’s singles and doubles from 35 to 60 age plus open categories will begin at 3:30 p.m. plus a delayed start for the men’s 45 doubles on the championship court that will pit Adam Lane, Bonita Bay Club assistant director of sports and captain of the Fort Myers team, and Mike Curran, director of tennis and fitness at Gulf Harbour Yacht & Country Club who has been part of many winning doubles teams in the Challenge series over the years, against the duo of Jerome Moenter, who has excelled in several world senior tournaments, and Bryan Twente.
The winners of each match nets one point for their team. Since 2013, Naples, captained by Jose Pastrello, director of sports at Quail Creek Country Club, has a three to two edge in the series over Fort Myers.
“Some fans will focus on one match while others will stroll around and catch some or a little of all of them,” enthused Scheb. “It’s a concentrated extravaganza of high-quality play for fans and a resumption of friendly yet competitive rivalries for the pros who relish playing in it and pursuing ‘bragging rights’ for their team for the next year!”
Bonita Bay Club will also host the FineMark Women’s Pro Tennis Championships, the only $100,000 Women’s U.S. Tennis Association Pro Circuit Tournament in Florida, from May 11 through 17, 2020, with rising stars also vying for ATP and WTA points with the winner receiving a wild card entry to the French Open.
Proceeds from the three events will benefit programs at the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.
Single-day tickets at $15 and a three-day ticket at $30 for the Collegiate Open are on sale at bbcfgcuopen.net and $15 tickets for the Challenge are on sale at nfmchallenge.com. Skybox tickets for $75 are also available. Tickets for the pro event are available at bbcusta.net. For more information on all tournaments, call the Bonita Bay Club tennis shop at 239-495-3573.
Bonita Bay Club recently opened up a limited number of golf memberships for candidates residing outside of Bonita Bay. Members enjoy three Arthur Hills-designed courses within the 2,400-acre Bonita Bay community along with two Tom Fazio courses spanning more than 1,000 acres of preserved cypress wetlands and pine flats with no residential development at the nearby Bonita Bay Club Naples. The club’s newly designed Sports Center offers 18 Har-Tru tennis courts and one of the region’s most active tennis programs, five new pickleball courts, and a zero-entry resort-style pool. Nearby, the 60,000-square-foot Lifestyle Center features a state-of-the-art fitness center, spa and salon. Bonita Bay Club has been recognized with exclusive designations, including the Distinguished Club and Platinum Club, and has been named among America’s Healthiest Clubs. For more information, visit bonitabayclub.net or call the membership office at 239-949-5061.
Contact: Becky Salaun, Bonita Bay Club, 239-949-5023, BeckyS@BonitaBayClub.net