A day on the links benefits scholarship fund at UT?Tyler

PATRIOT CLASSIC: Mike Childress and Charles Curtis line up their shots during the Patriot Golf Classic at Hollytree Country Club on Monday. The tournament raises funds for scholarships for UT Tyler students. (Christopher R. Vinn |Tyler Morning Telegraph)

For more than 25 years, the Patriot Golf Classic has raised scholarship money for UT Tyler students.

Many area golfers gathered one more time on Monday at Hollytree Country Club for a day of fun, while also recognizing the impact The University of Texas at Tyler has on East Texas.

Golf chairman Randy Childress said the Patriot Classic is instrumental in providing scholarships for worthy UT Tyler students. He added along with helping the students it is important because the university’s economic impact on the city.

The golfers gathered for a luncheon, which recognized committee members.

Dr. Rodney H. Mabry, UT Tyler president, asked for a moment of silence for philanthropist Bill Barrett, who recently passed away. He noted Barrett was a longtime supporter of the Patriot Golf Classic.

Following the luncheon, Childress announced an anonymous donor established a $25,000 scholarship in Barrett’s honor.

Former classic chairman, Randy Grooms gave the invocation.

The special guest speaker was former long drive champion Art Sellinger of Las Vegas. UT Tyler golf coach King Campbell introduced Sellinger.

Sellinger, a two-national champion, is now the owner of the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championships.

“I got lightning in a bottle,” he said of the competition. “I was fortunate during a seven-year period to place third or higher.

“I like the long-drive (event) because there are not cuts; and you get six shots — that’s five mulligans right there.”

After the luncheon, Sellinger, put on a show, not a clinic as he calls it, at the driving range. He said he is thankful to have been able to travel the world and demonstrate his craft. Sellinger added he has given more than 2,000 exhibitions and visited more than 20 countries.

During his travels he got to meet Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan and Arnold Palmer among others, but his most memorable exhibitions were during the first USO shows in Iraq some seven years ago.

Before leaving for Iraq, he visited with soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C.

The group, which included Corey Pavin and golf funnyman David Feherty, traveled to the Middle East during the Thanksgiving holidays. He said the troops were elated with the visit.

Sellinger also donated a signed “How I Played the Game” book by Byron Nelson. He said Lord Byron signed about 100 of the books and Sellinger takes them around the country and donates them for worthy causes.

Sellinger said he had about 65 left. On Monday, Nelson Clyde IV won the auction for the book for $1,000.

An auction was also held for custom-made boots for the college of their choice by Cavender’s. Both pair of boots sold for more than $1,000.

Robert Miller, one the scholarship recipients, spoke and thanked the donors for the opportunity to get his degree in political science. He is currently working on his master’s.

NOTES: Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics sponsored the luncheon, Childress said. Mabry added other key sponsors were At Home Heathcare, CBS19, Quick & Easy Car Wash and Cavender’s.

Patriot Golf Classic

Hollytree Country Club

A.M. Sessions

1, Jim Mills, Bo Chinn, Dave Spurrier, Greg Strnadel, 107l 2, Mitch Morman, Dan Noyes, R.J. Collins, Chris Phillips, 111; 3, Charles Curtis, Casey Byrd, Mark Edwards, Mike Childress,

P.M. Sessions

1, D. Irwin, R. Stafford, R. Shields, C. Green, 111; 2, R. Grooms, D. Johnson, G. Patterson, S. Mezayek, 114; 3, R. Pitts, J. Low, H. Bickley, S. Hellmuth, 116.

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