Iseminger’s team takes Fortunato Classic title

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 9, 2005

NATCHEZ &045; They almost didn’t do it.

With two holes to go, Barry Iseminger and three of his buddies from Tupelo were 13 under par, a good score by just about any standards. But it wasn’t going to be enough to win the Joe Fortunato Celebrity Golf Classic Sunday.

It took a long birdie putt on their second-to-last hole and a long eagle putt on the last hole for Iseminger, Justin Comer, Jamie Rock, Wade Wiygul to jump ahead of Joe Brumfield, Jamie Spring, George Hude and Walt Wilson, who finished second, and secure the first spot in the championship flight.

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&uot;We couldn’t have hit the ball any better,&uot; Iseminger said. &uot;We made two long puttes on our last two holes. Without those we wouldn’t have won.&uot;

It was that putting that really set the group apart. Making some long putts helped them score a round of 55 Sunday, the lowest in the tournament. On Saturday Iseminger’s team shot a 58 to put them in fifth place heading into the second round.

The wind, which had played havoc with some teams Saturday, calmed down Sunday and allowed some better scores, topped by the 55 Iseminger’s team shot.

First round co-leaders Bubba Bruce, Al Strickland, Ronnie Strickland and Ted Hyde and Doug, Dwayne, Dean and Louie Brown finished third and fourth. Doug Johnson, Tee Cotton, Scott Ford and Trey Isbell were tied with the Browns for fourth.

The tournament, run by the Miss-Lou chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame, was a success, according to members of the NFFHOF running the event.

&uot;People know that all the money goes straight to scholarships,&uot; Miss-Lou NFFHOF President Kevin Whittington said. &uot;It’s our main goal of the tournament to get money for local student athletes. We’re just lucky to have the community behind us. The merchants who donate items to us and sponsor us understand what the event is for.&uot;

All proceeds from the event go towards scholarships to the top student athletes at seven area high schools, awarded each February at a banquet.

Joe Fortunato, the tournament’s namesake and a five-time Pro Bowl selection with the Chicago Bears, said he was just happy everyone had a good time.

&uot;If you played good golf or if you played bad golf it doesn’t matter as long as you had a good time,&uot; Fortunato said. &uot;I think people really enjoyed it. The weather was perfect for us today.&uot;

That weather was a change from Saturday, when the temperatures were a bit on the cool side and the wind was blowing hard.