Fortunato Golf Classic seeks golfers

Published 3:36 am Thursday, April 15, 2010

NATCHEZ — Every February the Miss-Lou chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame gives out $10,000 in scholarship money to seven local high school athletes who excel on the field and in the classroom.

But the reason the foundation is able to give that large sum of money to the deserving athletes is coming up in a couple of weeks.

The annual Joe Fortunato Celebrity Golf Classic will take place at Duncan Park Golf Course Saturday, May 1.

“This really is our only fundraiser,” foundation president Walt Brown said. “The money we raise from the golf tournament goes 100 percent to the football foundation scholarship fund. This enables us to give $10,000 every year to seven deserving high school seniors.”

The tournament used to be a two-day affair but was shortened to one day last year and will be one day again this year.

Last year’s celebrities were former NFL players D.D. Lewis and Nolan Smith. Lewis will not be able to attend this year due to a scheduling conflict, but Brown said he expects Smith to attend like he does almost every year.

And of course local celebrities Fortunato, who played linebacker for the Chicago Bears, and Allen Brown, an All-American at Ole Miss who will be inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame this summer, will be there.

“This is a special year for us because Allen Brown is being inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame this year,” Walt Brown said. “Allen and Red Owens will do the cooking, and they’ll put out a good spread out there for everyone. Nobody is going to go home hungry, that’s for sure.”

The tournament will be a four-man scramble format with a shotgun start at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. The entry fee is $100 per player, which includes lunch for golfers and spouses and bags for each golfer.

There will also be prizes for each flight, and prizes for hole-in-one, longest drive and closest to the pin.

Brown said those who aren’t able to play and would still like to contribute can sponsor a hole for $100.

“That helps out a whole lot,” Brown said. “Every little big we can get helps.”

But the main thing Brown said the tournament needs is golfers. Registration has been a little slow to this point and Brown would like to see it pick up in a hurry.

“We’d love to have over 150 golfers,” Brown said. “That’s about what we have every year. But we can handle more. It’s lots of fun and I know everybody will have a great time.”

For more information or to sign up, call 601-442-5481 or 601-442-2902.