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Making the Turn: Golf tournaments help UL athletic fundraising

Dan McDonald, The Advertiser,  golfballs.com, Oct. 7, 2020

With their financial struggles due to the coronavirus pandemic, several of UL’s sports teams are putting extra attention on their fundraiser golf tournaments during the current fall semester.

One of those, the annual baseball fundraiser, was held Monday at Oakbourne, and three more are scheduled over the next four weeks. Hopefully, local golfers and Cajun fans that have the opportunity to play and help out these programs will fill up the entries and make these events successful. Monday’s baseball event had a full-to-capacity field.

The Cajun men’s and women’s basketball teams have their events scheduled just prior to the start of their season, a start that comes a little later than in the recent past with the pandemic delays.

Pandemic issues have also caused a change in the oldest of the fundraiser events, the Bill Bass Open. That event is held annually during UL’s Homecoming week, and those dates were changed last week with some COVID-19 adjustments in the Cajun football schedule. Homecoming is now set for Saturday, Nov. 7, when UL hosts Arkansas State, moving from the originally-scheduled Oct. 17 Coastal Carolina game (one that will now be played this Saturday, Oct. 10, as part of those adjustments).

That means the Bill Bass Open, which dates back over three decades and benefits the Cajun golf team, will now be held on Friday, Nov. 6, at its traditional Les Vieux Chenes home. That tournament is staged by the Ragin’ Cajun Athletic Foundation (RCAF).

The coronavirus has hurt UL’s self-generated athletic revenues in a big way, with limited football tickets available due to social distancing and a similar situation likely coming for basketball. That has forced many programs to dig deep into reserves and count even more on fund-raising events, and makes it even more important for local golfers and UL fans to support these events.

At the Bill Bass Open, every penny after expenses goes to support Cajun golf, even though entry fees are purposely kept low in order to increase participation during Homecoming week. Participants will get the chance to interact with UL’s golf team and staff, with the Cajuns stationed on several holes and hitting shots with every team.

Teams and individuals who entered for the original date do not have to re-enter, and entries remain open for the four-person scramble that has registration and lunch beginning at 11 a.m. and a shotgun start at noon. The event is open to all golfers and not just Cajun fans, and players may make up their own four-person teams or may enter as individuals to be paired onto teams. Handicaps will be used to allow all an equal chance at the prizes that go to the top three teams.

Entry fee for the Bill Bass Open is $150 per player or $600 per team, with RCAF members getting a $25 price break on the individual and team entries. Entry forms are available at all area courses, or players may enter by e-mail (with handicaps) at danmcdonald@cox.net or by phone at (337) 654-4161.

Next on the UL golf fund-raiser calendar is the kickoff event for Cajun men’s basketball, with the staff and squad holding its annual Tip-Off Classic tournament on Friday, Oct. 23, at The Wetlands. Members of the coaching staff will be taking part and several Cajun players will be on hand to meet and greet players.

The four-person scramble event has a $125 individual or $500 team entry fee that includes gift bag and food and beverage, and sponsorship opportunities from $200 for a hole sponsorship up to a $1,500 Rebounders Team are available. The Rebounders Team sponsorship includes an “All-American” gift package from the Rebounders Club and a social at Cajun coach Bob Marlin’s house.

Entry forms and more information are available at the UL basketball office, by e-mail at MER0761@louisiana.edu, or by calling (337) 262-3865.

UL’s women’s basketball staff had to postpone its originally-scheduled  Assist Club Open tournament in September because of bad weather, but the event has a new date and will be held Monday, Nov. 9, at Le Triomphe.

Players who had registered for the Monday event may roll over their entry by calling tournament organizers, and registration for other players is still available. The four-person scramble has a $700 per-team entry fee that includes cart and fees, range balls, beverages, Adidas golf apparel and other prizes. Sponsorships from $100 to $4,000 are also available with all proceeds going to the Cajun women’s hoop squad.

Information and entries are available from Assist Club president Jenifer Dendy at (337) 280-2275, director of basketball operations Mary Chris Vogt at (337) 249-5345 or Cajun coach Garry Brodhead at (337) 540-3573.

Chip Shots

CAJUNS BACK IN ACTION: UL’s golf team will play its third and final tournament of its abbreviated fall schedule this Monday-Tuesday when the Cajuns take part in the Intercollegiate at the Grove in College Grove, Tenn., hosted by Middle Tennessee.

As in other fall events UL has participated in, teams will play six players within their own squad in threesomes rather than pairing up with other teams in order to accomplish social distancing and limit contact.

UL finished ninth in the Jim Rivers Intercollegiate held at Squire Creek in early September, but that finish was deceiving since a quarantine-shortened UL squad had only five players available for the six-player, four-counting event. Sophomore Peter Hinnant posted a 73-71-69—213 there to tie for fifth in a 73-player field.

The Cajuns improved to a sixth-place finish last week at the Graeme McDowell Invitational in Birmingham, Ala., hosted by UAB, posting a three-over-par team score in the three round event. Only 14 strokes separated the top six teams, and Charlie Flynn led the way for UL with a one-under 68-75-71—215 score to tie for ninth.

Mark the calendar for UL’s annual Louisiana Classics tournament, which is now scheduled for Sunday-Tuesday, March 14-16, at its traditional Oakbourne home.

LADIES’ WEEK: The Louisiana Golf Association is still accepting last-minute entries for its “Ladies Week” Oct. 19-23 at Squire Creek just outside of Ruston. The activity is open to all active female LGA members and tee times are available Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (the course is closed Tuesday) at a discounted rate of $50 per player and $21 cart fee.

“Making the Turn” appears each Wednesday in the Daily Advertiser through November. Clubs, courses and individuals with information about local golf events may email Dan McDonald, editorial director at Golfballs.com, at danmcdonald@cox.net, FAX to (337) 857-8763 or call (337) 857-8754 and leave a message with phone number.