Jack Nicklaus’ NFL-playing grandson better after heart surgery — and finishes fourth at golf event

Back in May, NFL tight end Nick O’Leary — the grandson of golfing legend Jack Nicklaus — needed heart surgery.

O’Leary, the former Florida State star who played for the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars most recently, had an angioplasty on May 19 to reduce a 100 percent blockage of an artery. Doctors said there is no damage to his heart, and he should be able to return to football next year.

He also promised his grandfather that he’d get his golf game back.

The early returns are good on both.

On Friday, O’Leary teamed with PGA professional Ryan Fountain of the Bear’s Club to shoot 67 and finish tied for fourth at the South Florida PGA Pro-Scratch Championship at Tiburon Golf Club.

Michael Kartrude and amateur Brad Wheatley won the event.

O’Leary is taking a break from the NFL this season after the heart procedure. Playing golf is one of the few activities O’Leary can do while he recovers.

“Nick is a really good athlete and a really good golfer, probably a scratch golfer,” Kartrude said. “He has the capability of making multiple birdies and eagles. He’s got a really good short game.”

The Pro-Scratch Championship included another notable: former Major League Baseball pitcher Derek Lowe, who partnered with Brian Stewart of the Club at Renaissance to finish tied for 34th (71-141).

Despite opening with a triple bogey on the par-5 first hole, Kartrude and Wheatley shot a 9-under 63 – making an eagle at No. 17 – to win the South Florida PGA Pro-Scratch Championship at Tiburon Golf Club.

“The first hole was just a disaster,” said Kartrude, a PGA Professional at the Bear’s Club who won last month’s E-Z-GO South Florida Open. “We walked off the first green and said, ‘What just happened? We’re 3-over, let’s try to get under par by the turn so we have a chance to do something on the back nine.’ ”

Kartrude earned $2,800 for the victory in the first Pro-Scratch event held by the South Florida PGA at 36 holes. Wheatley, an assistant caddie master at the Bear’s Club, received a $500 gift certificate.

Smith and Parsons matched the winner’s 63 in a more conventional fashion, making seven birdies and an eagle. Justin Ahasic and Remi Chartier (64) were third at 14-under 130.


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