Locals tee off in Joe Fortunato Celebrity Golf Classic at Duncan Park
NATCHEZ — The Miss-Lou Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame has helped local scholar athletes by providing them with scholarships.
However, for that to happen, the chapter has to find the funding. And so far, that hasn’t been a problem.
Since 1994, the Joe Fortunato Celebrity Golf Classic has been the chapter’s only fundraiser, and once again in 2015, the Miss-Lou showed it’s support of the chapter with a solid showing.
“Our whole objective is to help the kids,” said Freddie Sandel, event organizer and chapter member. “This event is all hands on deck. We try to get as many people from Natchez to help and it takes a lot to put it all together.”
Sandel said the chapter definitely made the cut of $10,000 this year, but turnout wasn’t quite what he expected.
“Last year we had 132 golfers, and this year we only had about 102 to 108,” he said. “I’m not sure why. I think the economy is probably just a little bit off.”
The team of Jordan Farmer, Stuart Heflin, Henry Farmer and Tom Bryant took home first place with a score of 51 (-20). Wes Middleton, Josh Loy, Jeremy Loy and Middleton Wells finished second with a score of 53, and the team of Lee Jones, Cole Bradford, Bryant Tripp and Bryant Smith came in third with a score of 54.
But, they may not have been the biggest winners of the day.
Joe Willis, a competitor who said he and his team were just middle of the road players, walked away from the event with two tickets to anywhere he wanted to go, courtesy of Dixon Golf.
Willis was able to pass the Dixon Challenge, a paid challenge for competitors that allowed for them to compete for the tickets.
“It was hole No. 11, about a 300 yard, drivable par four,” Willis said. “I went first and we did a couple of drives and tested out the driver that Dixon Golf came out and presented to everybody. Everybody took a swing at it. A ball ended up in front of the green, two guys went in front, and then I stepped up, made a lucky swing, and chipped it in the hole. I’d say it had to be about 70 yards.”
The chip landed Willis not only a bunch of high-fives from teammates, but the tickets as well.
“Two tickets to paradise for sure,” he said.
But ultimately, Willis said he was just out on the course having a good time while supporting a good cause.
“We are competitive inside and we want to win, but it is all about having a good time and supporting a good cause,” he said. “Today was an awesome feeling and I’m glad I got to experience it with some good friends. I’m just happy I can be a part of all this and hope we can continue to help the scholar athletes of the Miss-Lou.”