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Slots still open for Fortunato golf tourney

NATCHEZ — Signup is still ongoing for the Joe Fortunato Celebrity Golf Classic Saturday at Duncan Park, and members of the community are urged to help fill the remaining slots.

The annual tournament raises money for the Miss-Lou Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame’s annual football scholarship fund, which awards six local prep football players with scholarship money. The $10,000 is divided between the six scholar athletes at the chapter’s annual awards banquet in February.

Brian Fisher, the chapter’s president, said 72 golfers are currently signed up, and the event usually features between 90 and 105 golfers each year.

“We definitely need some more players for sure,” Fisher said. “All the money from this tournament funds those athletes.”

Noteworthy names who will be on hand include former Dallas Cowboys linebacker D.D. Lewis and former Kansas City Chiefs receiver Noland Smith. A returning favorite will be Natchez native and former Green Bay Packers tight end Allen Brown, who will once again be providing food at the tournament — breakfast, lunch and dinner.

“He’s cooked in this tournament for as long as I can remember,” Fisher said. “Everyone in town knows him, and he does a phenomenal job. The food is kind of what this tournament is known for.”

Great River Chevrolet will sponsor four hole-in-one prizes, as well as two drawings for an additional chance to win an automobile. The two winners of the drawings will have an attempt to hit a hole-in-one from 175 yards out on hole No. 1. A ball drop has also been added, and out of 200 balls, whichever lands closest to the hole or goes in the hole first, the owner of that ball wins $1,000.

“Last year we were a couple of dollars short to cover the cost of the scholarships, so this year we thought we’d add the ball drop to bridge that gap,” Fisher said.

Fisher said the tournament provides for an important cause, and that’s what keeps folks coming out year after year.

“Everyone loves sports, but these kids aren’t just winning games, they participate in the community and make good grades,” Fisher said. “When you get a group like this that pushes the sports side and the community involvement side, people want to support it.”

The tournament’s namesake, former Bears linebacker Joe Fortunato, will not be on-hand this year, Fisher said.

“It’s still going to go on,” Fisher said. “Joe wouldn’t want it any other way.”

For more information or to sign up, call 601-446-6555, 601-442-9246 or 601-442-5481.