Jamaica Open opens wallets for charity

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Putting perfection: Ceciel Southerland shows off her swing on the 14th tee box.
Go green: Myra Avila, who reigns as Miss Westchester, smiles on the green at Reggae on the Green, part of a two-day fund-raiser to raise money for schoolchildren in Jamaica and New Yorkers in need.
Painting philanthropist: Michael Escoffery, whose paintings are published in more than 70 books, attended Reggae on the Green and donated proceeds from the paintings he sold to charity.
Green givers: The former Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness smiles with Alsion Roach, the president and chief executive officer of The Alsion Roach Group, who was involved with creating the event.
Smiling speaker: Devon Harris, a former Jamaican Olympic bobsledder, was the Master of Ceremonies for the Aug. 3 fund-raising event.
Flying together: The Jamaican and the American flags flap alongside each other.

This charity golf game was all about sharing the green.

The Jamaica Open NY Golf Championship at the Marine Park Golf Course Aug. 3was part of two back-to-back golf charity events to raise money for needy kids in the island nation as well as struggling New Yorkers.

The event raised money for Jamaica’s Palmyra Foundation, which provides youngsters in Jamaica with schoolbooks, and the New York Urban League, which provides resources for finding housing and employment to New Yorkers in need.

The golf tournament teed off the festivities on Aug. 3 with Reggae on the Green, a fund-raising event hosted by Devon Harris, a former member of the Jamaican Olympic bobsled team, complete with Jamaican-inspired grub, drinks, and jams.

The charity dinner provided a chance for people to raise money for the causes, even if they couldn’t hit the green for the tournament the next day.

“I also golf and I didn’t have time to take part in the tournament but I wanted to participate somehow,” said Michael Escoffery, a painter who was born in Jamaica and now lives in Westchester County.

Escoffery sold his paintings at the event and donated part of the proceeds to charities in Jamaica and New York. He said the attendees — which included former Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness, and Myra Avila, who is Miss Westchester — showed their support by donating to the causes.

“The people show their appreciation by opening their checkbook,” he said.

The golf tournament — held in New York for the first time — was open to professional and amateur players, and it wasn’t just about big giving — it was also about winning big. Professionals competed for a $5,000 cash prize. And two randomly selected golfers vied for a chance to win $1 million by making a hole-in-one from 150 yards away.

No one cashed in the $1 million dollars but the owner of the Marine Park golf course said one golfer came close — and the thrill of that feat was its own sweet success.

“It was very exciting — it was within three feet of the prize,” said Mike Giordano. “All in all, it was a great day.”

Reach reporter Vanessa Ogle at or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow her
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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