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The OLGT helps raise money for college scholarships through LEaRN

Photo Credit: PHIL HAWKINS - Ten teams came out to play in the fourth annual Oregon Latino Golf Tournament at Evergreen Golf Course in Mount Angel.Photo Credit: PHIL HAWKINS - Ten teams came out to play in the fourth annual Oregon Latino Golf Tournament at Evergreen Golf Course in Mount Angel.Dozens of participants turned out Saturday morning at Evergreen Golf Course in Mount Angel for the fourth annual Oregon Latino Golf Tournament.

Hosted by the Latino Educational and Recreational Network (LEaRN), the summer golf tournament is a fundraiser to help raise scholarships for local graduating seniors in the region.

“Everybody seemed to have a good time,” tournament director Henry Bustamante said. “Everybody talked about how they’re coming back next year.”

This year’s tournament, now in its fourth year, was moved to the 9-hole course west of Mount Angel after the first three tournaments were located at Oak Knoll Golf Course near Salem.

“Evergreen bent over backwards, they were very accommodating,” Bustamante said. “They were so helpful. We’ll be back for years to come – that’s our new venue.”

Guests were treated to a golf carts, lunch, team photos and a host of prizes courtesy of LEaRN and its sponsor, Xerox. Aside from the tournament registration fees, LEaRN was able to raise money by selling mulligans to players, raffle tickets and string that could be used in lieu of putting.

There was even a guest appearance from Woodburn High School senior A.J. Martinez, a member of the Bulldog boys golf team. Martinez sat at the eighth hole and drove the ball for prospective players in exchange for donations.

“There are tournaments that he gets into, and they’re not inexpensive, so we thought this would be a good way to fundraise and get his name out there,” Bustamante said.

Many tournament players opted to pay Martinez a five to 10 dollar donation to drive the ball on the 308-yard par 4 hole.

“The kid’s a talent. He put it probably five yards from the green on mine,” Bustamante said. “I see big things for him, at least if nothing else, playing some college golf and getting himself through school that way.”

Bustamante said that Martinez was a welcome addition to the tournament, fitting in with that LEaRN’s goal of assisting local high school seniors.

“Next year what I hope to do is incorporate more of that,” Bustamante said. “If nothing else, for them to come out and help volunteer, because Gervais doesn’t have a golf team, so any of that community stuff, we’re all for that.”

The best-ball tournament was won by “No Nuss” a quartet of John Swanson, Bob Gebhardt, Ken Goforth and Mike Larimer who named their team after Rick Nuss, a friend who was unable to participate.

No Nuss finished with a score of 57, while Chris Jump, of Gervais, took home the closest-to-the-pin challenge. In addition to raising money for LEaRN, Bustamante was pleased with the overall vibe of the tournament and is looking forward to seeing it grow at its new venue near Mount Angel.

“It felt like a small town type of atmosphere – exactly what we were looking for in the group of guys we had out there,” Bustamante said. “It were perfect. Good food and good times.”

The golf tournament is the second of three LEaRN fundraisers during the year, following the Oregon Latino Basketball Tournament in March. The next event on the calendar is scheduled for Sept. 6 during the annual Gervais Sidewalk Chalk Festival, where LEaRN hosts a 3-on-3 Streetball Tournament for boys and girls in grades 3-12.

To learn more about the basketball tournament or LEaRN, or to register a team, go to www.learnetwork.org.Photo Credit: PHIL HAWKINS - Members of the Latin Educational and Recreational Network take a brief photo break before the tournament began.

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