Rain can’t dampen United Way tourney

Published 12:59 am Saturday, April 19, 2008

NATCHEZ — Even though heavy rain and lightning delayed the start of the 15th annual United Way/Isle of Capri Golf Tournament by one hour Friday afternoon, it didn’t dampen the spirits of the 63 golfers who played in the four-person scramble.

The afternoon started out wet and gloomy, but before the 16 teams got their rounds in, the blue sky and sunshine came out. And despite the wet fairways and greens at Beau Pré Country Club, half of the teams shot in the 50s.

The team of Dr. Kofi Kumi, Tom Bryant, Mike Cook and Gary Farmer made eagles on a pair of par-4 holes, No. 9 and No. 12, en route to a round of 18-under-par 54 to finish in first place by one shot over two teams.

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“A team effort. Everybody on the team played well,” Farmer said. “Dr. Kumi made the putts when we needed them. Tom knocked it in on No. 9 from 100 yards. I knocked it on the green and made the putt for eagle on No. 12. Mike is the team captain. Natchez Community Hospital sponsored our team.”

The Isle of Capri-sponsored team of Jose Oakley, Jack Sours and Willie Richardson finished in second place with a round of 17-under-par 55 by winning a scorecard playoff thanks to an eagle on No. 8.

“It was really nothing spectacular. Steady making birdies,” Sours said. “We had an eagle on No. 8 and a couple of pars. We parred No. 16. I thought that was going to hurt our chances, but it didn’t. It was a lot of fun. It was nice to play some golf. We’re trying to raise money for the United Way.”

The Delta Bank-sponsored team of Joe Smith, Bob Flurry, Orville Jones and Jack Benson had to settle for third place at 17-under 55. On the scorecard playoff, it had a birdie on No. 8.

“We played on the old man’s tees. We were the over-the-hill team. I’m the youngest at 67,” Flurry said. “It was tough. Cold, rainy. We did good. Everybody pitched in and helped out. We eagled 15. We drove the green and made the putt. We had 15 birdies.”

“They played the sissy teams,” Tommy Geoghegan jokingly said. “We played the white tees and they played the gold tees.”

Geoghegan was part of the Natchez Regional Hospital-sponsored team with Dr. Jeffrey Anderson and Keith Rayborn that finished sixth with a round of 15-under-par 57.

Tournament chairman Jimmy Hibbs said he was concerned for a little while that the tournament was going to be rained out.

“We knew the weather was coming in, but we didn’t think it would last this long,” Hibbs said. “Everyone got tired of waiting, so they said what the heck. I think they’re enjoying it.”

All of the proceeds from this tournament benefit the United Way of the Miss-Lou.

“Every year we’ve had a good following to support the United Way,” Hibbs said. “We were pleased with the turnout. I’d like to thank the Isle of Capri for their employees helping us out. Isle is a major sponsor of this tournament.”

Administrative assistant Brenda Cantu said the “major sponsors” that had four players on their teams were Isle of Capri, Supermarket Operations, B & K Bank, Natchez Community Hospital, Concordia Bank & Trust, Regions Bank, Paradise Foods (Taco Bell) and Farmer Electric.

“Eight hundred dollars covered four players, hole sign and reception sponsors,” Cantu said. “The other teams had two players. Five hundred dollars covered two players hole sign and reception sponsors. The $125 is for hole sign and the $100 is for individual players.

“We need to thank Southwest Distributors and Coca-Cola. They’re our beverage sponsors. The main prize is the $10,000 for a hole-in-one on No. 16.”

Other prizes were a choice of Callaway BB 460 or X-20 Irons for a hole-in-one on No. 13, a choice from Premium Electronics Package for a hole-in-one on No. 7, and a choice of airline tickets or cruise package for two for a hole-in-one on No. 4.

Unfortunately, the weather conditions kept anyone from acing any of the par-3 holes.