Thursday, August 23, 2007

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! Oy, oy, oy!

We've written a couple times about the Birdies For Kids Fundraiser organized by a group of Australian golf professionals in the DFW area. Including here, a preview of this year's fourth playing of the fundraiser, in which the Aussies were joined by hockey star Brett Hull.

That fourth Birdies for Kids Fundraiser was played this past Monday, Aug. 20 at Brook Hollow Golf Club in Dallas, and produced a record haul, nearly $200,000 for charity.

The seven Australian golf professionals participating were: Stuart Deane, PGA Member from Arlington; Nick Griffin, an assistant professional at Bent Tree Country Club in Dallas; Travis Johns, an assistant professional at Preston Trail Golf Club in Dallas; Jeremy Langdale, an assistant professional at Green Tree Country Club in Midland; Dean Larsson, an assistant professional at Bent Tree Country Club in Dallas; Cameron McCormick, the director of instruction at Brook Hollow Golf Club in Dallas and Mark Harrison, the director of operations with the Northern Texas PGA.

Along with Hull they each played 108 holes of golf on Monday, earning pledges for each birdie and eagle made. In total, the eight golfers produced 178 birdies and one eagle during the course of the golf marathon. Somehow, the golf seemed to get better as the long, hot day wore on:

"Through four rounds this year we had 116 birdies and one eagle. As a group it just felt like we were playing much better this year," said Nick Griffin. The Aussies saved their best for the final 36 holes, when as a group they made 62 birdies, an average of almost four birdies per player, per round. "Heck fellas, it looks like we’re just getting warmed up, let’s play another 18 holes for the kids," joked Travis Johns as the group finished the final round at 8:00 p.m.

The fundraiser produced just over $194,000, funds which this year go to the Northern Texas PGA Junior Golf Foundation's Golf-In-Schools program and Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. In the four years the event has been played, the Aussies have raised nearly $400,000 total for children's charities in the Metroplex.

The professionals also got help this year from some junior golfers, who raised even more money themselves:

This year, the Aussies asked members of the Northern Texas PGA Junior Golf Foundation and Texas Legends Junior Tour to become “honorary Aussies” for the summer to help raise money for kids. 57 kids participated by asking for support from friends, neighbors and relatives in an effort to raise money for the fundraiser. The kids raised $30,416.00 for the respective charities this year.

Michael Young, a senior at Dallas’ St. Mark’s School of Texas and Johnny Antle, a junior at Graham High School in Graham were the leading fundraisers of the kids that participated. Amazingly, both Michael and Johnny raised $7,375.00. For their efforts, both Michael and Johnny will receive a complete set of Titleist golf clubs. In addition, both young men will receive two round trip tickets on Qantas from the United States to Australia.

Congratulations to all involved in this great effort, and thanks to the Australian golf professionals (and to Brett Hull) for being such great members of the Texas golf community.

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