Cancer Research Benefit : Celebrities Hit the Links for High Priority Golf Classic

Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth switched his focus to golf this week and won the low gross award at the first High Priority Celebrity Golf Classic. His score on the Links at Monarch Bay, according to benefit chairman Betty Belden, "was 70, which is phenomenal."

At the closing banquet at the Ritz-Carlton hotel, Ueberroth said, "For me, I played well--better than I ever expected,"

Fifty-six players donated $250 each to take part Monday in the golf classic. An additional 130 gave $100 to join in social functions only, beginning with a cocktail party Sunday evening at the Capistrano Beach home of Dr. David and Pat Perkowski. The benefit netted almost $20,000 for High Priority, which is the breast cancer research/information arm of the AMC Cancer Research Center in Denver.

Ueberroth admitted that a personal interest sparked his participation. "This is a charity that we (he and his wife) believe in, and when we lend our name, we show up," he said.

The dark-haired Ginny Ueberroth nodded agreement and added that she is also involved with Reach to Recovery, a program in which women who have experienced a mastectomy help newer mastectomy patients.

It seemed almost every person in the banquet room was in some way affected by breast cancer, from Orange County High Priority President Wanda Cobb (she's also High Priority national secretary), who is a mastectomy patient, to singer Ilene Graf, star of the TV show "Mr. Belvedere."

Moving Introduction

Graf, in a moving introduction to her show-stopping final song, alluded to cancer in her family.

Cobb won the women's first net non-handicap in the tournament but was more excited over the event's success--particularly because the group had just 45 working days to pull it together. "My husband (Dr. Ty Cobb) told me, 'You're absolutely crazy.' But I said, 'Well, I've never been president of anything before, so I don't know the difference.' "

High Priority was formed nationally in 1982 by leading women in the music industry to disseminate information and raise money to combat breast cancer. The Orange County Chapter held its first membership coffee in March of this year, and 150 women formed the first regional group in the country.

Funds raised at the benefit will be channeled directly to AMC Cancer Research Center for breast cancer research.

Awareness Project

One of AMC's awareness projects, underwritten by Coors, is shower cards--plastic cards to hang in the shower to instruct women on proper breast self-examination. And according to Wanda Cobb: "One woman who took a card home from the group's first coffee found 'something unusual.' A mammogram revealed malignancy and she underwent a mastectomy. 'High Priority saved my life,' the woman told me.

"And that is what we're about: early detection, giving hope."

Other winners in the golf event, announced at the banquet, included Bruce Carlson with a score of 60, first net A flight; Ralph Venuto, 63, first net B flight; Larry Munson, 90, first net non-handicap.

Carole Ann Ruoff and Margaret Stradling tied for women's low gross with 93. Katie Odell won first net, handicap, and Charlene Emmell won second net, handicap.

Celebrities who participated included Chris Lemmon, star of "Duet"; Jerry Douglas of "The Young and the Restless"; Ted McGinley of "Dynasty," "The Love Boat" and "Happy Days"; Broadway star Ben Lazarone; Mark Pillow, star of the upcoming "Superman IV," and pro football players John Sciarra, a former Philadelphia Eagle, and Los Angeles Raiders Jerry Robinson and Mike Haynes.

Raffle Held

During the raffle for such prizes as a case of wine and a Swedish massage, a gleeful Robinson played to the laughing crowd as he won a hand-painted basket and a string of pearls. When Bebe Herrmann, longtime friend of the Ueberroths, won an autographed copy of Ueberroth's book, "Made in America," she returned it to the prize table. Responding to shouts of "auction it," amiable emcee Ed Arnold brought in a winning bid of $350 from Dr. Ralph Venuto.

The Sid James orchestra entertained while guests, many still in golfing attire, enjoyed a vegetable terrine with tomato and basil, braised shrimp and artichokes in yellow pepper sauce. Breast of capon with shittake mushrooms and bok choy in mango ginger sauce followed, and a strawberry, raspberry and blackberry aspic provided a light finale.

After dinner Bruce Jamieson, vice president for development of AMC Cancer Research Center, thanked the group and spoke briefly about the center.

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