A former professional female golfer has filed a lawsuit against the organizers of a charity golf tournament and a car dealership, claiming they owe her a “$90,000 Mercedes” for allegedly making a hole-in-one at their event.
John M. Brennan, of Orlando-based law firm Gray Robinson, filed the lawsuit on August 23 in Orange County circuit court on behalf of his client, Linda Chen, who is a resident of Orange County.
The suit accuses Tournament Golf Events (TGE) and Boyland Auto Orlando, LLC, which does business as Mercedes-Benz of South Orlando (MBSO), of denying a hole-in-one prize they say Chen won during a May tournament.
In the complaint, Chen alleges that she made a hole-in-one shot on the “eleventh hole at Isleworth Golf & Country Club in Windermere, Florida” during a golf tournament fundraiser known as “Fins on the Fairway” on May 22, 2023.
The tournament, which benefitted Nova Southeastern University Orlando, included a hole-in-one competition and was “organized and operated” by TGE, according to the complaint.
Chen claims she appropriately documented the hole-in-one, that there were multiple witnesses, and that her two “additional playing partners” both provided “Playing Partner Affidavits.”
Chen’s attorneys say their client submitted all of her “proof of claim” documentation on Wednesday, May 31.
In a letter to TGE that was attached as an exhibit to the complaint, Scott Malatesta, President of Ace Hole in One, denied the claim and provided reasoning behind the decision.
Malatesta said the company, which provides insurance for hole-in-one prizes, denied the claim on the grounds that Chen signed a “Notarized Players Affidavit” confirming “she was not a former professional golfer,” but that she in fact was.
“Ms. Chen was a Professional Golfer and thus is ineligible for the prize,” reads Malatesta’s letter.
Malatesta goes on to state that the yardage cited in Chen’s notarization of the hole-in-one was not the appropriate distance.
“On the Players Affidavit that Ms. Chen signed and had notarized has the yardage played at 115 yards. Signed contract #203033 had the Women’s yardage at a minimum of 155 yards, which also disqualifies this claim,” reads the letter. “Based on the above facts, we are denying this Hole in One Claim.”
In email correspondence also provided as an exhibit, Chen’s attorneys state that their client “competed professionally from 1994 to 1996, but has since regained her status as an amateur with the USGA.”
“Still, Ms. Chen’s claim is valid despite her former status as a professional in the mid-1990s,” reads an email from attorney Dylan Hooper of Gray Robinson.
In an email response on June 14, Galvin stated that “Chen’s hole in one prize claim” had been denied due to her “former professional status.”
“Striking out that element on the affidavit does not change that,” reads Galvin’s response to Chen’s attorneys.
The lawsuit seeks to “recover damages in an amount to be proven at trial, including but not limited to the advertised Mercedes-Benz E Class or $90,000.”