FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Trent Thompson attributed it to a "team effort," while Lynn Bell said great putting paved the way.

Even though both players served on Army Aviation Center Federal Credit Union Tournament's winning teams, Soldiers and Families were the victorious ones April 23 at Silver Wings Golf Course.

One hundred twenty-six golfers battled fierce winds on SWGC's Blue and White courses to participate in the 20th-annual event that raaises money for Army Emergency Relief Fund. The fund helps pay bills, such as some medical and groceries, for Soldiers and Families in emergency situations.

The number of golfers about doubled the 2009 turnout. Last year's tournament raised $16,000.
"A lot of it is timing," said tournament co-chairman Joel Faulk, who noted last year's low turnout was an aberration. "Most years, we have between 100 and 120 golfers. One thing that helped was in DalevilleA,A! - it was spring break."

As storms approached the area late Friday, winds picked up on an otherwise "beautiful" day, Faulk said. Thompson, along with partners Steve McCoy, Britt Gay and Harris Kennedy, notched a 61 in the windy conditions to take home the gross score title.

Bell, Chad Powell, Randy Sims and William Miller shot a 54 in the four-person scramble to garner the top net score.

McCoy said when forming the team, he took into account all the players' individual strengths, which led to the "team effort" that won.

"Trent can hit the ball 350 yards, Harris can hook (on doglegs) and Britt can putt. I can drive the golf cart," he said.

Meanwhile, Bell's team all performed well on the greens.

"We putted well. We just got in a zone," he said.

That zone applied to the team's whole game, something that became evident on Blue No. 2 "especially after our drive bounced 16 times under the trees," Sims said.

"We birdied that hole, and we knew we were having a good day," Bell said.

The team said they play in this tournament every year, and really enjoy it. Others were just happy to support AER, including Brig. Gen. Kelly J. Thomas, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker deputy commanding general.

"AER is one of those projects that goes directly back to the Soldiers. The AER tournament continues to put back money to Army Families when things are hardest," he said.

Jeffrey Herzog, Noncommissioned Officer Academy, said his unit fielded five teams in support of the effort.

"Anything for AER. Who knows when you might need it'" he said.