Former Kansas University golfer and F-16 pilot Dan Rooney has done a terrific job of using his golf connections to bring financial relief, raised awareness and scholarship money to spouses and chidren of soldiers killed or disabled in service to our country.
The centerpiece of Rooney’s “Folds of Honor” charity is a Memorial Day golf tournament. PGA touring pro Gary Woodland of KU will be among those participating in today’s third-annual Patriot Cup at Patriot Golf Club in Tulsa, Okla.
Rooney, a major in the Air National Guard, has served three combat tours in Iraq and has been relentless in his charitable efforts.
At the Patriot Cup, each team consists of a PGA pro, two military golfers and two Folds of Honor donors.
Folds of Honor has an extra $500 headed its way, thanks to Bo Gollier’s winning a three-way putt-off Sunday at Lawrence Country Club after three teams tied for the lead at the completion of the two-day, third-annual Northwestern Mutual Lady Pro-Am.
Gollier and teammates Andy Arensberg, Mark Giroux, John Tacha Jr. and pro Selanee Henderson designated Folds of Honor as their charity of choice.
The LCC event featured 10 five-somes, each with a lady professional from various tours and golf clubs. The event is open to the public every year and gives the pros a chance to test their putters on slick greens during breaks in their schedules.
First-day leader Nicole Smith, who gained fame on the Golf Channel reality show “Big Break Ireland” last fall, claimed the $1,250 first-place prize in the pro competition, following her Saturday 71 with a 76 in Sunday’s strong winds from the south.
LCC pro Kristen Samp finished second, one stroke off the pace with a two-day total of 148, and Lori Atsedes, a teaching pro in Arizona, finished third at 149.
Smith, 25, ranks third on the Symetra Tour money list, also known as the Futures Tour, from which the top money winners advance to the LPGA. Past participants in the LCC event Gerina Mendoza and Lisa Ferrero now compete on the LPGA Tour.
Smith, from Riverside, Calif., stayed with host-family volunteers John and Kathy Rathbun and said she “had a blast” on a tour of downtown and the KU campus.
“I love this town,” Smith said, who was scheduled to leave this morning for Indiana, the next stop on the tour. “I hope I can come back next year.”
At her current pace, she’ll be on the LPGA Tour.
“Even if I am, I’d like come back and play. I had so much fun,” she said. “Why not come back?”