The End Zone Seat: Fore 81 Classic Upon Us Once More
For the 11th year, the Fore 81 Golf Classic tees off to raise funds for the Bret J. Keefe Memorial Scholarship Fund at the Towanda Country Club Friday.
The tournament is the sole fundraiser for the fund that provides four-year scholarships each year to senior male and female “athletic scholars” at Wyalusing Valley High School, Keefe’s alma mater.
Keefe, who was an outstanding athlete at Wyalusing, went on to be one of the most respected assistant coaches at the school before his death in a January 2001 automobile accident.
That June, the Keefe family held the first tournament at Stone Hedge in Wyoming County to raise money for the scholarship fund.
From relatively modest beginnings, the tournament has actually grown to two tourneys—one in the morning and one in the afternoon. It is certainly the largest charity tournament at the Towanda Country Club, which has been home to the event over the last eight years.
While the golfers, for the most part, are just out to have a good time and remember their friend and family member, the competition on the course can be intense.
The afternoon tournament especially seems to attract a stout field of golfers for the captain and crew competition.
Last year, the team from Gannon Associates won the Green (morning) tournament with a score of 60.
In the afternoon Gold tournament, P.J.’s Tap Room won the title by tiebreaker with a score of 56.
The tournament has become such a success that the fund has raised its contributions to the seniors from $2,000 each to $2,500 beginning this year.
This was especially welcome news for the newest scholarship winners—Abby Fogel and Paul Hugo.
One of the best things about the tournament is that the scholarship winners make every effort to return to volunteer or play in the event.
However, none of the female winners have yet to play in the tournament while several of the male winners have. I reminded Abby of that the night she won the scholarship. This year she plans to work as a volunteer on one of the holes, but maybe in the next couple years, we’ll see her out on the course with club in hand.
Paul, whose brother Jon was a 2003 Keefe Scholarship winner, has a busy day ahead of him as he is also slated to play in the District Four All-Star Football Game in South Williamsport that night.
Keefe’s family members are gracious hosts, which may well be a major reason why the golfers return year after year to support the tournament.
Despite its tragic origins, the Fore 81 is one of the happiest events of the entire sporting calendar.
Let’s hope that the sun, in this year of miserable weather, will shine brightly on this worthwhile event.