Downtown golf tournament, catfish buffet a success

Monday, June 26, 2006
Bob Pastrick drives the ball closer to the hole as he participates in Cape's first downtown golf tournament. (View a gallery of more photos)

Golf balls were flying through downtown Cape Girardeau on Sunday as more than 80 golfers participated in the first Louis J. Lorimier Memorial World-Famous Downtown Golf Tournament and All-You-Can-Eat Catfish Buffet.

While the nine-hole course wasn't easy, organizers and participants agreed that the tournament was a success and an afternoon of fun.

"It was magnificent and I believe it exceeded everyone's expectations," said co-organizer Charlie Herbst. About $2,000 was raised from the $25-entry fee for the event and funds will go towards the Red House Interpretive Center's building fund.

Before the tournament began, Cape Girardeau residents Julie Pastrick and Kim Schott took practice swings on the lawn of the Common Pleas Courthouse -- also the location of the first few holes.

Both women said they weren't experienced golfers but wanted to support the efforts of enhancing the downtown area and to have fun.

"We're not the golfers -- that's both of our husbands," Pastrick said. "We're the ones encouraging them to golf to get them out of the house." But on Sunday, both women and their husbands, Bob Pastrick and Mike Schott, played in the golf tournament together.

The city's town crier, Darryl Morgan, kicked the event off and warned participants of the challenging course. "Beware of the hazards that await you -- for you may wind up taking a swim down the mighty Mississippi," he said.

Morgan warned golfers of the No. 7 hole, which was on the east side of the downtown floodwall along the Mississippi River. This was the hole participants agreed was the most challenging.

Golfers also battled sidewalks, trees and flower beds throughout the first few holes on the lawn of the Common Pleas Courthouse. The courthouse itself distracted one golfer -- whose ball struck the building just several inches away from a window.

Adam Beck, of Cape Girardeau, said the fifth hole was the most difficult. Participants hit the golf ball from the parking lot behind C.P. McGinty Jewelers down an alleyway toward Broadway.

"That was pretty hard," said Beck, who was golfing with a friend. "We're just out here golfing for the cause," he said. "It's always a great thing to help out the downtown."

River Heritage Museum director Marge Thompson said the event was "definitely the most strange" golf tournament she's ever played in. Despite not playing golf in six years, Thompson, 81, shot three eagles during the day.

"I just love it to pieces. It was a lot of fun," she said at the ninth hole in front of the Red House.

John Hillin received the lowest score of the day -- a 31 -- for the 35-par course.

Red House director Jane Randol Jackson said she was pleased with the turnout for the event. "I think the day was wonderful and it seemed like everyone really enjoyed themselves," she said.

Entrants were treated to a catfish buffet served by Port Cape outside of the Red House.

The golf tournament exceeded Southeast Missourian editor Joe Sullivan's dreams. Years ago, Sullivan brought up the idea of a downtown golf course in his weekly column and his dream of driving golf balls into the Mississippi River.

Herbst said after the success of Sunday's first-ever golf tournament, he expects about 150 golfers will participate next year.

jfreeze@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 246

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