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Tourney honors golf legend

By Reina Kempt

The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ — Tom Matthews started an annual golf scramble 20 years ago to raise money for scholarships. Even though he passed away last October, his friends and family are making sure to keep his humanitarianism alive — but this time, with a new name.

Beau Pré Country Club board of directors president Chuck Fields will continue on with Matthews’ good deeds as the newly named Tom Matthews Memorial Golf Scramble tees off at the Beau Pré Country Club this Saturday and Sunday.

Fields said the local golf legend used all the money from the tournament entry fee and contributions toward scholarships, and he wants to continue funding scholarships.

“This is an effort by his friends and the Wharlest Jackson Elks Lodge,” Fields said. “We usually raise about $5,000 a year and split it equally among every high school senior golfer in the area.”

Matthews, the former pro golfer at Duncan Park and golf coach at Alcorn State, died of cancer at the University Medical Center in Jackson. Fields said besides renaming the tournament to honor Matthews, he has even more in store.

“I will be doing a memorial ceremony right before the awards ceremony Sunday,” he said. “There will be a moment of silence and a few words from me (and some of his friends).”

Tee times will start at 9 a.m. on Saturday. Participants can form their own groups and just enjoy the green. Fields said there will also be a fish fry Saturday night.

On Sunday, shotgun starts at 8:30 a.m. in which participants will be put in a flight. The cost will be $150 for two days.

Fields said one thing Matthews always prided himself in was making sure everyone had a good time and felt equal.

“Matthews was very good at making sure that everybody wins something,” he said. “And we’re going to continue that.”

For more information on the Tom Matthews Memorial Golf Scramble, call the Beau Pré Country Club at 601-442-5493.