Sports

Wing Point guns for tourney four-peat

After Meadowmeer dominated the early years of the Fred Schaffer Helpline House Memorial Golf Tournament, Wing Point has won the last three times and hopes to make it four in a row in the 11th annual edition on June 30.

The tournament, which matches the pros at Meadowmeer and Wing Point in a 36-hole best-ball format, raises several thousand dollars to benefit Helpline House. It was renamed several years ago to honor Fred Schaffer, former president of the Helpline Board.

Last year’s shift from Thursday to Sunday resulted in the largest-ever turnout in the event’s history, and organizers hope for an even larger gallery this year. Admission is free.

Meadowmeer will again send out head pro Tom Mueller and assistant pro Drew Azure. Because Wing Point doesn’t have an assistant pro this year, club champion Joe Lanza – a 2001 BHS grad, the youngest golfer to hold the title – will team with pro Dave Tunkkari.

Play begins at 8 a.m. with 18 holes at Meadowmeer.

At noon the scene shifts to Wing Point for a barbeque (hamburgers, potato salad and all the trimmings for $10) that offers spectators the opportunity to chat informally with the pros. There’s also a silent auction with golf equipment, clothing, sports tickets and other items. A sale rack has items available for instant purchase.

After the break, the four golfers tee off for 18 holes at Wing Point, which in recent years has provided the hosts with a decided advantage.

In 1999, Tunkkari and then-assistant pro Bill Hansen came back from a two-stroke deficit at the halfway point to win by two.

The following year, with club champion and BHS athletic director Neal White subbing for Hansen, Wing Point was down three strokes at the break before coming back to tie at the end of 36 holes. Tunkkari drained a dramatic 20-foot chip shot on the second extra hole.

Hansen rejoined Wing Point last year and, after a three-under par 68, he and Tunkkari were two up as the entourage left Meadowmeer. But Mueller and Azure came back to tie after eight holes. They fell behind by a stroke after nine, then effectively lost the match on the tenth hole as Azure’s drive burrowed under a heavily branched fir and Mueller’s approach shot caromed off a tree into the water. Both men wound up with bogeys while Hansen birdied it.

“The whole match swung on that hole,” Mueller said. “We had to start playing aggressively, looking for birdies.”

They didn’t find enough, shooting 75 for a 145 total. Wing Point carded 72 for a five-stroke edge at 140.

While there’s a certain amount of pride involved, the tournament also creates an atmosphere in which Mueller turned to the gallery after Tunkkari nearly bounced in a chip shot from a bunker and said, “He’s the best sand player I’ve ever played with.” And Azure raced his four-year-old son Coleman down Wing Point’s eighth fairway.

“My son helped me to realize that it’s just a game,” Azure said.

A game that provides an enjoyable day for spectators and substantial assistance for Helpline House.

*****

The 11th annual Fred Schaffer Helpline House Memorial Golf Tournament will be held June 30. Admission is free and spectators are encouraged to attend.

Play begins at 8 a.m. with 18 holes at Meadowmeer, followed by a barbeque ($10) and another round of 18 at Wing Point.

For more information, contact the Meadowmeer pro shop, 842-2218, or the Wing Point pro shop, 842-7933.

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