Scott Harrington returned to the winner circle for a sixth time in the 15th annual Professional Tennis Exhibition Series at the Boca Grande Club Wednesday.
Harrington, assistant pro at the Shadow Wood Country Club in Estero, topped runner-up Abdul Idi, playing in his second series. Harrington held serve easily in the decisive 10th game to capture his sixth title in 10 tries.
"I love this event. I was relaxed and had fun," Harrington said.
Clockwise from bottom right includes: Jim Labinski, Tucker Lang, H Wetzel, Scott Harrington, Angela Steffan and Steve Ethier.
Idi, assistant pro at the River Strand Golf and Tennis Club in Bradenton, teamed with Harrington in a 6-2 semifinal victory over H Wetzel, tennis director at the Boca Bay Pass Club, and Nate Griffin, tennis director and Idi's boss at River Strand.
"Scott and Abdul played unbelievably in the first set," said Griffin.
In the cleanly played second set, Harrington and Griffin broke serve in the 11th game to beat Idi and Wetzel, 7-5. Harrington and Wetzel took the tense third set, 6-4.
"Scott was doing whatever he wanted to do with the ball," Wetzel said.
More than 300 patrons crowded the Boca Grande Club for the title tennis. Under the series format, the four teaching pros play three sets of doubles, rotating partners each set. The player winning the most games takes the trophy.
After two sets, Harrington led with 13 games, Idi had 11, Griffin nine and Wetzel seven.
Harrington and Wetzel drew first blood with a break of Griffin in the opening game of the finale. Wetzel broke in game four.
Idi perfect on his first- and second-sets serves, and in his first service in the third set, had several chances to hold in the decisive seventh game.
Harrington and Wetzel kept ripping from the baseline and Idi and Griffin kept drilling volleys right back. Idi and Griffin finally missed a couple volleys, one on a 20-ball rally - the longest point of the tournament -and succumbed in a 16-point marathon game.
Idi was pleased with his performance in his first final at the Boca Grande Club.
"I enjoyed it, the crowd was happy and that's important," Idi said. "It's like a big-time tournament crowd. When they're into it, it boosts your energy."
Harrington collected $1,000 check for his win and Idi earned $750. Griffin tied Wetzel at 13 games apiece to net $525 apiece. Total prize money for the tournament was $4,800.
Following the tennis, about 100 patrons stayed on to mingle with players and munch on ribs with all the fixings prepared by the Clubhouse Restaurant of the Boca Grande Club. "The After Party" closed the eight-week fundraiser.
Suncoast Humane Society Executive Director Phil Snyder said the 2013 pro series netted more than $40,000 for Suncoast, a record contribution.
"This was one of the best tennis tournaments ever, and the results for the Suncoast Humane Society were great," said Boca Grande Club CEO Yvonne Anderson.