Everything that needed to fall into place fell into its appropriate spot as the first ever Gridiron Greats Golf Tournament went off without a hiccup Aug. 3 at the Oakdale Golf and Country Club.
The committee that turned an idea from early in the year into reality did a wonderful job making their aspirations come to fruition with the help of a tireless group of people that put on a clinic, leaving all those associated with the event pleased.
“I think everybody had a good time,” committee member Tim Meyer said. “All the feedback we’ve had is that it was one of the smoothest tournaments, especially for it being the first one.
“Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and that was the goal.”
The 150-plus field for the tournament took to the links just after noon at the local country club on Monday, Aug. 3 and players were welcomed with gifts, delicious food and beverages by the ton.
“When they showed up we had some ladies selling raffle tickets,” Meyer said. “We had lunch for them, they got dinner that night, we had some food for them on the turn.
“There was a lot of good food and good times throughout the day.”
All entrants received shirts, hats, two meals, gift bags and other complimentary accessories that made the event all the more enjoyable. The fundraiser put out several items, yet the focus clearly turned to the links once action got under way.
Foursomes battled for bragging rights on the tournament’s first set of winners, yet they were all playing for second as Oakdale plus-handicapper Jamie Looper helped lead his team to victory in the tournament’s first running.
“Those guys were very excited they won,” Meyer said of the winning men’s group. “There was some competition behind the scenes out there. There were a few groups trying to get after Jamie’s group, so he added another stick to the group with Jay Ward and they were trying to crank it up.”
Meyer and Oakdale head football coach Trent Merzon avoided the opportunity to play in the Mustang football fundraiser event, choosing to welcome, socialize and entertain tournament entrants versus hitting the course on arguably the best day of weather the Central Valley has offered in recent weeks.
“The weather was awesome, we couldn’t have asked for any better weather,” Meyer said. “It was beautiful San Diego 80’s weather. Everybody enjoyed themselves and we didn’t have to worry about any heat strokes.”
The tournament also featured several raffle prizes as well as a host of auction items that will help the Mustang football program raise needed funds as the squad closes in on the upcoming 2009 football season.
Looper’s team, including Ward and Manuel Vierra, led the tournament’s group of winners taking down the tournament crown with the most impressive round of the day. The ladies’ side of the competition was won by Amy Thompson, Liz Colombo, Robin Grohl and Kim Bacigalupi, scoring female bragging rights.
Steve’s Chevrolet sponsored four hole-in-one holes giving away a vacation, new car, three-day golf camp and two sets of irons on holes six, nine, 12 and 16, respectively, yet nobody was able to take advantage.
Former Oakdale High coach Craig Redman nearly proved to be the lone winner, but a tee-shot into the water on No. 12, wasted his follow up shot, which promptly went into the cup for a tremendous par.
In an epic display of charity, Hank Barrett made the announcement to the dinner crowd after the tourney that his team’s $250 jackpot for scoring the shortest time in the tournament’s highlight sidebar, 2-minute drill on hole No. 11, was immediately returned to the Mustang program, a genuine gesture that did not go unnoticed.
“Each person in the foursome took turns hitting a ball,” Meyer said of the drill. “All the pars on the hole got paid out, so they came away with some Mustang football apparel. The lowest group went one minute and 17 seconds and it was a lot of fun.
“I haven’t seen a lot of those guys run that fast or golf carts moving across the course like that in years.”
The success of the opening act of the Gridiron Greats golf tourney leaves little chance of it being the first and only fundraising tournament on the links for the Mustang football program.
“There is no question,” Merzon said. “We will have a second annual. It was a lot of fun and there is no way that this will not get better and better with each season.”