Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

July 10, 2014

Tournament of Hope back for 41st year

VALDOSTA — The American Cancer Society's Tournament of Hope returns to Valdosta beginning Wednesday, but after being held at Stone Creek in the past, the tournament will have a new home for the 41st edition, Kinderlou Forest Golf Club.

Originally named the Walter Hagan tournament in the first year of the tournament's inception in 1974, the three-day event donates all proceeds to cancer research.

In the 40 year history of the tournament, more than $1.5 million has been raised to benefit the American Cancer Society — about $40,000 a year.

Ashley Paulk took over the tournament in 1981 and the former Lowndes County sheriff and former Lowndes County Commission chairman has been heavily involved ever since. At last year's tournament Paulk told The Times he would begin to delegate some of his duties with J.D. Yeager taking on a bigger load, but Yeager made it clear Paulk's fingerprints would still be all over the project.

"Ashley's been involved for over 30 years," said Yeager. "It's comical that Ashley's been saying for the last five or six years that he was going to turn it over, but we all know that as long as Ashley's around, he'll continue to be a big part of it.

"The (Tournament of Hope) is just the easiest tournament to put on, because everybody's been affected by cancer."

The event is broken into a 4-ball tournament with four-man teams. Each player plays 18 holes on one of the three days of the tournament (picked by the player).

After accommodating 52 teams at last year's tournament about 52-55 teams are expected to register for this year's Tournament of Hope, but instead of Stone Creek, it will be the greens of Kinderlou Golf Club that will be occupied next week.

Stone Creek is going through maintenance and the golf course has been shut down through July.

"The (Tournament of Hope) is always held at the same time, in July, and we weren't willing to change the tournament," said Yeager. "I went to the Langdales and Kinderlou and they accepted us with open arms.

"They've opened their golf course to us, allowed us to do everything that we've always done as far as the cancer tournament goes, and they've really been a blessing for us to work with out there."

The cost of registration in the Tournament of Hope is $500 which includes greens fees for a team of four, one round of golf, lunch, beverages during the tournament and a sausage dog at the end of the tournament.

For more information on the Tournament of Hope, contact J.D. Yeager at 229-740-0978 or Ashley Braswell at 229-834-0709.

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