By Nikc DukeJuly 3, 2013
FORT BENNING, Ga., (July 3, 2013) -- Fort Benning Golf Course was home Saturday and Sunday to the 34th Purple and Gold Golf Tournament, presented by the Lambda Iota chapter of Omega Psi Phi fraternity.
The tournament, one of the oldest fraternity-sponsored tournaments in Georgia, saw more than 110 golfers compete in eight different flights.
This year, the winner of the championship flight was Levi Rentz, who shot a two-day total of 148 (4-over) to narrowly defeat defending champion Dan Kirkland by one shot.
Rentz, from Salem, Ala., was able to birdie his final hole of the tournament after hitting an approach shot to within two feet of the hole on the 385-yard par-4 No. 9 on the Patton course.
Patton, perhaps the most difficult of the three nine-hole courses on Fort Benning, was only in play for Sunday's final round, something Rentz said added to the tournament's challenge.
"Patton is a lot tougher than Bradley in the first place, but then we were backed up to the blue tees, and that made it a lot tougher," Rentz said.
"There's some holes on both sides from the blue tees where there are trees in the way to where you can barely hit the fairways. It played long, but I made it through it."
Despite the difficulty of the Patton course, Rentz said he played better on Patton than he did his first nine holes on the Marshall course.
"The first nine holes I was kind of all over the place having to make a bunch of par putts," he said.
"Really, it was just a scrambling day, but I made it in."
For winning the tournament, Rentz, like the winners of each of the other seven flights, received two sleeves of golf balls, a new set of irons and a trophy.
The top five finishers in each flight won a prize of some sort, but they weren't the only ones who will receive a gift as a result of the tournament.
The proceeds from the tournament are used to fund the chapter's scholarship program, which presents college scholarships to high school students in the Columbus and Phenix City area each year.
Since the tournament's inception, it has helped to raise more than $340,000 for college scholarships, said Arrin Young, the chapter's basileus, the group's equivalent of a president.
Young said the event this year went off without a hitch, thanks in large part to the relationship the chapter has with Fort Benning.
"A lot of our members, including myself, are either active duty or former military, so there's a great relationship with the people out here at Fort Benning, whether it was Col. Jeffrey Fletcher in years past or Col. Michail Huerter now," Young said. "And, Maj. Gen. H. R. McMaster is an outstanding leader. You really couldn't ask for a better environment or command climate."
Young said the event has grown steadily, and he looks forward to the tournament's continued growth at Fort Benning Golf Course.
"It's growing and growing every year, and this year we've had people come from Cincinnati, Detroit, Atlanta, Florida and lots of other places," Young said. "Everyone that comes out here leaves with the same opinion that this is a great event. Each year we try to make it bigger and better, so everyone should just keep an eye out for us next year."