Celebrity golf classic kicks off Saturday

Published 2:01 pm Friday, May 4, 2007

NATCHEZ — The Joe Fortunato Celebrity Golf Classic, which benefits the Miss-Lou Chapter Scholarship Fund, will take place Saturday and Sunday at the Duncan Park Golf Course.

A shotgun start will kick things off at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. both days as each team will begin its round on a different hole on the course.

And there is still time to register a four-person team for this tournament. So far, close to 150 players have already registered to play in this four-person scramble. That’s at least 27 teams.

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“We have room for 200,” Joe Fortunato said. “We have it the same time – the first weekend in May. Tony Byrne, the president of the Miss-Lou Chapter (of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame), is doing an excellent job. We want to thank everyone who donates and takes part in this.”

The entry fee is a $125 donation per player. And the donations are tax deductible.

“We have good support from the town,” Catherine Fortunato said. “All the proceeds from this go to scholarships (to be given to seven local senior scholar-athletes). Duncan Park has always accommodated us. We want to thank the cooking crew and the volunteers for the food.”

This will be the 15th year for the Joe Fortunato Celebrity Golf Classic. Among the celebrities who will be participating in this year’s tournament are Nonald Smith, who played for the Kansas City Chiefs, and NBA Hall of Famer Bailey Howell.

And while most of the golfers who play in this are from the local area, there are those who play that are from outside the area.

“We have some from Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Hattiesburg, Memphis, Starkville,” Joe Fortunato said.

Breakfast and lunch will be served each day by the cooking crew including sausage and biscuits, pulled pork, sandwiches, pork loins and salad.

Lunch will be served for all players and spouses from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. both days. An awards party will be at the clubhouse after conclusion of play Sunday afternoon.

Bags will be given to each golfer and there will be prizes given to the teams that finish in first, second and third place in each flight.

“The hole-in-one prize is a car from Great River Chevrolet-Cadillac-GMC on No. 13,” Joe Fortunato said. “Sunday evening we’re going to have a lot of great gifts to raffle off.”

The person who makes a hole-in-one on No. 13 on Sunday will win a 2007 Chevrolet Impala. Assorted prizes will be given away for those who ace No. 6 and No. 15 on Saturday and No. 9 on Sunday.

Among those door prizes that will be raffled off are lamps, a painting from Dianne’s Frame Shop, golf balls and umbrellas, along with a banner signed by the 1963 Chicago Bears’ championship team and a poster of the seven greatest linebackers in Bears’ history.