Not surprisingly, the leader board read like a “Who’s Who?” of University of Mount Olive alumni during the 12th annual Trojans Baseball Alumni & Friends Golf Tournament contested Friday.
And, of course, a foursome led by UMO grad Tyler Farmer emerged as the champion of the day-long event played on the Southern Wayne Country Club links.
Farmer and his playing partners — Justin Manning, Lloyd Davis and Brad Garris — logged a 16-under 55. The group took home a prize package that included UMO baseball shirts, UMO hats, sleeves of golf balls and tickets for dinner at Maya Bistro.
The quartet of Phillip Pennington, Michael Arnette, Brandon Ham and Chris Trip placed second at 15-under 56. Third-place honors went to the team of Steve Hudson, Greg Myers, Richie Hogg and Camden Hogg with a 14-under 57.
A total of 25 teams (100 players) competed in the 18-hole event that benefited the UMO baseball program. According to head coach Rob Watt, the tournament had a successful flair and “maxed out” on teams for the first time since its inception.
“We had to turn teams away,” Watt said.
The field included several members of the 2008 NCAA Division II national championship team, and current Major League Baseball pitchers Bruce Zimmerman and Kodi Whitley.
Zimmerman and Whitley played in a group with Brighton Hudson and Ben Connor that shot an 8-under 63. The foursome posted a sterling 29 on the front nine.
Nate Estes claimed the longest drive on No. 6. Camden Hogg won closest-to-the-pin on No. 11 and Highway 55 Burgers, Shakes & Fries founder Kenney Moore took the putting contest.
“I think everyone knows just how hard this year has been on everyone,” Watt said. “[Friday] was a prime example of a group of people coming together for two reasons — it’s always great to see old friends and bring families together, and I believe all of the folks that came to play golf knew this year, more than ever, we needed the support.”
COVID-19 abruptly canceled the Trojans’ season in mid-March. UMO logged a 19-4 record overall and was ranked among the nation’s top 20 teams in three Division II polls.
The team also lost an alumni, Jett Swetland, who lost his battle to injuries he suffered in a tragic crash that also took the lives of three UMO women’s lacrosse players.
“It was nice to have a sense of normalcy and be able to follow through on an annual event,” Watt said. “The heartbeat of this program has always been the players. It’s a proud group of men and I think this event was evident on just how much they care about this school.”