By Jeremy Wise, Army Flier staffApril 9, 2010
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Despite bogeying their last hole, David Harper, Sebastian Heemskerk, Mark Sammons and Alan King fired a 59 to win the annual Army Aviation Association of America tournament April 1 at Silver Wings Golf Course.
The team defeated a group that included U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker Commanding General Maj. Gen. James O. Barclay III and Deputy Commanding General Brig. Gen. Kelly Thomas. Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center of Excellence Commander Col. Chris Carlile and Bill Tyner also played in the second-place group that registered a 61.
Tom Adams, Steve Kreipe, Mark Taylor and Gary Thie, representing Science Applications International Corporation, also fired a 61 but lost a tiebreaker to Barclay, Thomas, Carlile and Tyner in the four-person scramble.
Members of the winning group said they didn't have their best game on the course, especially after errant shots on the final White course hole.
"We brought our worst game," Heemskerk, a Dutch flight student, said. "Alan could have won it on his own. I made some good putts."
King, who golfed collegiately at the University of Central Florida, said the course conditions allowed for faster and further ball movement.
"The greens were firm. The fairways were hard and dried. The ball did bounce further than I thought it would," he said, a notion Heemskerk echoed.
Despite losing the overall title, the second-place group had the best round of the teams who played the Blue and White courses. Tyner, a two-time winner, said all group members contributed to the great showing.
"We had a pretty good team. All four of us hit the ball well," the Lear-Sigler contractor said. "I hit good drives and they followed up."
The three aforementioned groups were not the only big winners in the event. Mike Sines, operations officer for 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment, sunk a hole-in-one on Blue's No. 3 to garner $5,000 from hole sponsor Becky Hancock Realty.
About 220 players tackled the SWGC links in the tournament that's sole purpose is to support AAAA scholarships, said Denise Aylesworth, tournament organizer. Last year, the local AAAA awarded 24 scholarships totaling more than $35,000 to AAAA members and their Families.
Many participants enjoyed playing golf while supporting a great cause, including Josh Broadaway, a Nationwide Tour professional golf player from Dothan.
"Any time we can give back, we try. The game's been good to me," he said, noting the four-person scramble provided "a lot less stress" than participating in individual-stroke play.
Thomas noted supporting AAAA also helps Army leadership support the Army Family Covenant, which is a large effort to ensure Soldiers' Families are provided for.
"It's for the mission. That's the best cause we've got. It has a direct impact on our Soldiers and their Families," he said.
Aylesworth said $35,000 in sponsorships was collected for the AAAA scholarship fund.