Tide Golfers Win Patriot Tournament
Whitsett, from Houston, shot a 5-under-par 66 in the final round after carding a 69 in round one and a 64 in round two. Wyatt, a Mobile, native, trailed Whitsett by two strokes entering the day and shot a 4-under-par 67 on the par-71 layout to finish at 11-under 202. He posted rounds of 69 and 66 in the opening two days of competition for the Alabama one-two finish.
To show support for Folds of Honor, each golfer carried a commemorative PING golf bag bearing the name of a fallen soldier from the community in which they live or attend school. That bag will be auctioned off to benefit the families of the fallen soldiers through Folds of Honor.
"What a great performance by our guys out in Arizona in a really great event that honors this country's fallen soldiers," Alabama Coach Jay Seawell said. "It really meant a lot to the guys to have a chance to play for the names of the fallen soldiers that were on their bags – guys who gave it all for our country. The Patriot All-America is a great tournament that raises a lot of money for a great cause and our players were honored to be invited to participate."
Whitsett's bag featured Mark A. Forester's name on it, while Wyatt honored Jeffrey O. Ausborn.
Forester, a University of Alabama graduate, was a senior airman with the United States Air Force. He was killed at the age of 29 while conducting combat operations with his Special Forces team in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan, on Sept. 29, 2010.
Air Force major Ausborn hailed from Gadsden. He was deployed to teach new Afghani pilots how to fly the C-27 aircraft. He left behind his wife Suzanna Ausborn and five children, Emily, Eric, Shelby, Mitchell Maloy and Summer Maloy. He was killed on April 27, 2011, at the Kabul International Airport.
Justin Thomas (Goshen, Ky.) and Trey Mullinax (Birmingham) also competed for the Crimson Tide. Thomas shot 74 on Friday to slip to a tie for 13th at even-par 213 while Mullinax carded a 72 to finish tied for 23rd at 2-over 215.
Mullinax represented fallen soldier Jason L. Brown, while Thomas honored Robert W. Channell Jr.
Brown, a staff sergeant in the Army from Magnolia, Texas, died on April 17, 2008, in Sama Village, Iraq, trying to capture an al-Qaeda leader. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group out of Fort Campbell, Ky. Brown earned the coveted "Green Beret" in 2004. He is survived by his daughter, Alyssa Gomez, and his parents Rosemary and James.
Channell was a Tuscaloosa native assigned to the 1st Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade based in Camp Lejune, N.C. He was killed while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom on April 22, 2003. Channell enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1986 at the age of 19 and is survived by his wife, Joyce, and daughter, Bethany.
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