A record number of participants hit the links at Chicora Golf Club for the inaugural Joe Tart Memorial tournament on Thursday.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated from a previous version to reflect top finishes and comments.
ERWIN — Family members, friends, colleagues and town officials were among the record number of participants who hit the links at Chicora Golf Club for the inaugural Joe Tart Memorial tournament on Thursday in honor of the late business owner and lawyer.
A day that started with an Air Force-directed flyover, concluded with grins and laughter as final scores were announced.
Erwin Mayor Patsy Carson says she knew how popular the event would be among locals given Tart's history of good deeds within the community.
"I know he's smiling," Carson said of her longtime friend.
"He loved flying and he loved being an honorary commander."
According to Carson and representatives from the Erwin Area Chamber of Commerce, 180 players, broken into 47 separate teams, competed.
"It was touching and quite a compliment," Lee Tart said regarding the number of participants on hand.
"It's the largest tournament we've had here in quite some time so it was pretty amazing. ... As far as Chicora, and golf in general, he (Joe Tart) loved being a part of it, so it was neat to see all his buddies come out and have some fun."
Tart died last August after a long career as a lawyer and business owner in Harnett County. He also assisted in the revitalization efforts of Chicora as one of the club’s major shareholders.
What was supposed to be solely an afternoon outing, quickly transitioned into morning and evening sessions because of how many entries were submitted ahead of the tourney.
Groups were split into three flights and were awarded gifts based on first-, second- and third-place finishes.
The foursome of Graham Thompson, Clint Knox, David Herring, and Brett McLamb took top overall honors after posting the lowest score of the day, a 19-under-par 53.
The event also provided a chance for individual prizes, with most attached to performances on the par-3 holes.
Two players notched a hole-in-one.
George Frank knocked one in on the sixth hole to claim a set of Callaway irons and Emily Hare notched her first hole-in-one ever to claim $500.
Will Peregoy took home honors for the longest drive.
With the overwhelming success and positive reviews, Carson and Tart family members hope to grow the event for years to come.
"If it continues to grow, it might have to turn into a weekend event," Lee Tart laughed.
Donnell Coley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 910-230-2040.