Annual golf tournament to benefit women’s shelter

— The third annual Travis Wood Four Ball Invitational golf tournament is scheduled for May 4-6 at the Hurricane Country Club in Bryant.

Organizers Adam Eoff and Dustin Easterly said the tournament was formed because there weren’t any four-ball tournaments in Saline County. The event is sponsored by Everett Buick GMC.

“We wanted to get one going,” Eoff said. “We wanted a four-ball tournament here like in the other towns around us. Little Rock has several, but there wasn’t one here in Saline County.”

The three-day tournament consists of five nine-hole matches. There are six two-man teams in a flight, and each team plays every team in the flight once. Prizes will be awarded to first-, second- and third-place finishers.

“Each hole is worth a point, and whoever has the most points by Sunday wins the flight,” Eoff said.

The cost to enter the tournament is $275 per person or $550 per team.

“Right now, we have 45 teams on the list,” Eoff said. “We can only have 54 teams in this format, so we only have nine spots left for this year.

“We are trying to figure out a way to make it work where we can have more than 54 teams. But we are nine teams shy of having a full field right now, with three weeks left.”

The three-day event includes lunch and a players-only dinner on May 4. On May 5, the tournament will host a dinner for players and guests at the Benton Event Center, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The band Mayday by Midnight will perform that night at 8. Lunch will also be provided May 6.

Registration will end May 2, or before that if the spots fill up. For more information, email twood4ball@gmail.com.

Proceeds from the tournament will benefit Saline County Safe Haven, which provides shelter services for women and children in domestic-violence situations.

Travis Wood, who played professional baseball for the Chicago Cubs and the Cincinnati Reds, said he and his wife, Brittany, were thinking about what they would like to get involved in when they chose Safe Haven.

“This is just one that stuck with her,” Wood said. “We went for it, and it turned out great. They are super appreciative of us.

“Especially with the turnouts we have been getting, it has been outstanding.”

Wood suffered a torn ACL and medial meniscus in his left knee in March. This will be the first year he will be able to attend the tournament, but he will not play.

“It has been unfortunate that I haven’t been there to see it myself,” Wood said, “but I only hear great things from everybody that [attends the tournament].

“They get a lot of people who automatically are going to be there next year and reserve spots. They put their best foot forward and put on a solid tournament.”

Wood said it will be nice to see how everything is run and to meet new people.

“If you are from Saline County and play baseball, you look up to Travis Wood and Cliff Lee,” Easterly said. “And those are the two guys who are big-leaguers. That’s how they are recognized.

“The fact that this is the first thing Travis has ever put his name on — I think that is what makes it big, too”

Last year, the tournament earned $20,000 for Safe Haven. Eoff said it was Wood’s idea to raise money for a good cause.

“That was their choice, to be able to donate money back to the community,” he said.

“Obviously, there are a lot of organizations that could use the funding, but Safe Haven is such a small organization that it doesn’t get as much recognition as some of the larger ones,” Easterly said. “The fact that [Travis and Brittany] chose this particular organization meant we were all in.”

Easterly credited Brittany for Wood’s philanthropy.

“She has rubbed off on Travis,” he said. “She has the biggest heart of anyone I know. They constantly give large sums of money.

“The fact that they do like to give so much, it is because of his wife. His wife initiates the fact that they are so big in the community.”

Easterly said the tournament has grown to include golfers from Kansas, southeast Arkansas and even Dallas.

“The tournament is something people in Saline County were looking for because there wasn’t a big four-ball tournament here,” Easterly said. “We have core guys from Saline County who are inviting their friends, and it is becoming a regional thing.”

In the first year, Easterly said, the tournament raised $7,500. He said both times were pretty emotional for the women representing Safe Haven.

“Last year, to see [the representative from Safe Haven] literally break down and not know what to say or how to react, that was obviously the most rewarding part,” Easterly said.

Staff writer Sam Pierce can be reached at (501) 244-4314 or spierce@arkansasonline.com.

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