DUNN — With dark, threatening clouds cooling off the summer humidity, Will Gage addressed golfers on hand following the inaugural Bobby Purvis Memorial at Chicora Golf Club Tuesday morning.
Gage, the current athletic director at Harnett Central High School, thanked fellow academic and athletics leaders from Harnett, Lee and Moore counties for joining the event to help honor the legacy of his close friend who died of cancer in May.
Purvis, a longtime teacher and coach, garnered a remarkable reputation statewide and was recently honored by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association with the 2019 Charlie Adams Distinguished Service Award.
“Bobby gave a lot to athletics and we thought this was the least we could do to honor his memory,” Gage said of Purvis who served as the Union Pines High School athletic director for the past 10 seasons.
After his death, organizers quickly formed the Bobby Purvis Scholarship that serves high school student-athletes. Gage responded by putting forth efforts to transform the annual Tri-County 3A Conference golf tournament into a fundraising event for the new foundation.
A total of 21 groups signed up, bringing representatives from each of the league’s six schools plus Moore County’s Pinecrest High, from the Sandhills 4A.
Coaches, athletic directors, county school board members and former players were all in attendance, searching for shade in between swings.
The Moore County foursome of Eric Marion, Jeff Hewitt, Ricky Young and Randy McKiver took home the first-place plaques after turning in the best round of the day, an 18-under 54. Mark Whitman, David Reese, Chip Mangum and Steven Hamby were just one stroke off the pace, claiming second with a 17-under 55.
Western Harnett athletic director Russell Taylor was joined by Terry Currin, Chuck Klaren and Elvin Matthews. The foursome finished third with a 16-under 56. Meanwhile, Gage’s group wasn’t too far back, ending the day with a 12-under 60. Other notable locals to participate were athletic directors Wendy Simmons (Triton) and Bobby Matthews (Overhills).
“We had only been planning it for about a month, so you have no idea what’s going to happen,” said Gage. “The turnout was great. We hope it’s something that continues.”
Gage says all of the proceeds, totaling $2,500, from the event will be donated to the new scholarship fund.
He also expressed his desire to keep the tournament at Chicora in the future, praising the country club’s staff in its role as hosts.
Donnell Coley can be reached at email@example.com or 910-230-2040.