Despite threatening skies that loomed most of the day last Friday at Belle Meade Country Club near Thomson, this year's 16th Annual Ray Guy Golf Classic to benefit the McDuffie Regional Medical Center Foundation was another big success, according to Debbie Jones, golf tournament director.
"The weather held out for us and the golf course was so very well maintained," said Mrs. Jones, who also handles public relations and marketing at McDuffie Regional Medical Center in Thomson. "Everyone seemed to have enjoyed themselves very much."
More than $33,000 was raised from this year's golf tournament for the McDuffie Regional Medical Center Foundation. The foundation's board of directors includes: Babs Davis, Mary Etna Dudley, David Jopling, Carolyn Langford, Jean Lazenby, Rusty Lovelace, O.B. McCorkle, Hazel Mobley, Donald Newsome, Anne and Sonny Poss, Billie Thomas, Wanda Willis, Clois Witt, Doug Keir, CEO of the local hospital; Debbie Jones, foundation director; and Lucie Wills, chairwoman.
Proceeds from the golf classic allows the foundation to create and promote health education programs and expand health care services available to the communities served by the McDuffie Regional Medical Center.
A number of the participants said they plan to play in The Ray Guy Golf Classic again next year, said Mrs. Jones.
A total of 92 golfers broke off into teams of four to play the cours. -one of the CSRA's most popular golf courses during the week of The Masters. The golfers came from Thomson, Marietta, Augusta, Washington, Wrens and Louisville.
The tournament is named for Ray Guy, one of Thomson's most famous residents ever. Mr. Guy was unable to attend this year's golf classic, but sent his regrets. Several months ago, he accepted a job with Southern Mississippi University and as a result, he had commitments that would not permit him to participate this year, said Doug Keir, chief executive officer of McDuffie Regional Medical Center.
Mr. Guy played 14 years in the NFL with both the Oakland Raiders and Los Angeles Raiders. A graduate of Thomson High School, Mr. Guy is widely acknowledged as the greatest punter in NFL history. He has been nominated several years for the NFL Hall of Fame.
Capturing first place in this year's golf classic was the SunTrust Bank team of David Jopling, Jamie Alfriend, Bryan Corbitt and Todd Stewart. Their efforts won them some nice prizes, including four Masters' golf prints and four tickets to the Blind Willie Blues Festival in Thomson.
The second place team, sponsored by Stokes-Hodges GMC of Thomson, consisted of the following players: Larry Berry, William Berry, Heath Hammond and Jamie Roberts. One of their prizes included four tickets to Harbor Club Golf Course.
The third place team, sponsored by Queensborough National Bank & Trust of Louisville, consisted of the following golfers: Mark Cooper, Kevin Cobb, Joe Culvern and Tom Watson. As their prize, they received four tickets to play at Savannah Lakes Golf Course.
The longest drive contest was won by Nik Abidin of Regional Open MRI. Finishing second in that contest was Todd Stewart of SunTrust Bank.
Dr. John Bieltz, of Thomson Orthopedics, won the putting contest. He walked away with a cash prize.
A ball-drop contest also was played, which drew lots of interests from golfers.
"That was a lot of fun to those that played," said Mrs. Jones.
She explained that 450 balls, all numbered, were dropped at a cost of $10 each. The first ball was worth $1,000, while the second one was $500 and the third one $250. The total prize purse of those three balls was split between Jody Thomas, a registered nurse at McDuffie Regional Medical Center; Foster Wylie, owner and director of Curtis Funeral Home in Thomson and Sonny and Anne Poss of Thomson.
An auction also was held for the sale of two golf carts, which raised more than $5,000 for the local foundation, added Mrs. Jones.