Paine College is making a late push to fill spots in its annual golf event.
The sixth annual Paine College Golf Tournament is set for Aug. 25 at Gordon Lakes Golf Course, starting at 11 a.m.
It is a fundraiser for the golf team, which has won the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title two of the past three years thanks in part to the money raised in this event.
Augusta native Jim Dent, a 12-time winner on the Champions Tour, is the honorary chair, and plans to play in the event.
For a number of reasons, entry forms for the tournament went out late this year. On top of that, athletic director Tim Duncan and golf coach Herman Belton resigned to take other jobs in the past month.
“We’ve been late in terms of getting the community support and that’s what we need,” said Rufus Whitmore, who is the co-chair on the tournament’s board.
The tournament has raised more than $150,000 for the golf program in the past five years. The event was created in September 2009 after the team qualified for the PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championships in the spring, but couldn’t afford to attend.
The main sponsors of the tournament are Outback Steakhouse, Chick-fil-A, P.F. Chang’s and Coca-Cola.
“Despite the negative stuff that has been out there (about Paine’s financial problems), our key supporters and contributors have stuck with us,” Whitmore said.
“The key to this is helping the kids. All the other stuff that is out there … that is not our role.”
The two chairman for the tournament – Whitmore and Kenny Larry – didn’t attend Paine. Neither did most of the board.
“We are here because of the fact we saw a need in terms of supporting kids who are trying to get through school,” said Whitmore, referring to the golf scholarships the tournament helps provide. “We think in terms of our ability to try to give back to the community. That’s why we’re here.
“Hopefully, that can say to people who have not signed up for the golf tournament that the opportunity is still there.”
To enter the tournament, call (706) 821-8428.