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Brad Sawyer Memorial Golf Tournament turns 20

Brad Sawyer Memorial Golf Tournament turns 20
Press photo by John Burbridge
Tyler Klatt tees off on Wildwood Municipal Golf Course’s Hole No. 2 during the 20th-annual Brad Sawyer Memorial Golf Tournament held Saturday. Klatt, Bryant Estlund and Chris Freiberg won the 3-person, best-ball tourney after carding an 18-hole score of 60 and then breaking a first-place tie in the subsequent play off.

By John Burbridge

CHARLES CITY — The transition from boys to men usually takes place well within a 20-year span.

But even though many of the then young men who played in the inaugural Brad Sawyer Memorial Golf Tournament in 1999 and have continued to participate — some making long pilgrimages back to Charles City after relocating during their adult lives — in honor of their former friend and/or classmate, Brad’s surviving mother Annie still considers them “my boys.”

“They’ve all grown up, raised families and have adult children of their own,” Annie said, “but they will always be my boys, and I’m always happy when I see them again.”

Of course, they’re not just “boys” who play in this coed tournament. Brad’s sister Tara, a golf enthusiast and former Charles City Comet player like her brother, is a regular participant and assists her mother in organizing and running the tournament. The most recent event was held last Saturday at Wildwood Municipal Golf Course — Brad’s favorite stomping grounds and where the tournament has been held since its inception.

On Oct. 13, 1999, Brad died in an automobile accident. The following spring, his father (Scott Sawyer) decided to hold a golf tournament in Brad’s honor. When Scott died in 2010, Annie and Tara took over the tourney with help from Joel Bruner, superintendent of Wildwood Municipal Golf Course.

The annual event continues to be the most popular golf tournament held in the city.

It regularly caters to 27 3-person teams which make two circuits around the 9-hole course.

“We usually fill up pretty fast,” Annie said. “This year we only had 26 teams because a team had to drop out due to an injury.”

Though the Brad Sawyer Memorial Golf Tournament is now 20 years old, this was the 19th running — the 2017 tourney was rained out.
“For the most part, we’ve been lucky,” said Annie, as that was the only year the tournament has been a wash.

In the best-ball format, the trio of Bryant “Fairway” Estlund, Chris Freiberg and Tyler Klatt shot an 18-hole score of 60 and later won the subsequent play off to break the first-place tie for championship honors.