KFHS golf tourney showcases rich heritage

Published 10:47pm Friday, June 27, 2014

King’s Fork High School’s sixth annual Bulldog Celebrity Golf Classic featured some growth and a strong heritage of success in some of its guests of honor.

Bulldogs golf coach Calvin Mitchell, who organized the event with KF football coach Joe Jones, noted the tournament grew to include 64 players this year. It brought in about $3,700, which will benefit the King’s Fork athletic program.

Former New York Yankees pitcher Jim Coates competes at the Nansemond River Golf Club on Friday during King's Fork High School's sixth annual Bulldog Celebrity Golf Classic.
Former New York Yankees pitcher Jim Coates competes at the Nansemond River
Golf Club on Friday during King’s Fork High School’s sixth annual Bulldog Celebrity Golf Classic.

“I felt it went good,” Mitchell said of the Classic. “Everyone said that they enjoyed themselves and will probably be back next year. Most of the players that were there played last year.”

The winning team, with a group score of 48, was sponsored by TLC Electrical and Consulting and featured Terry Castonguay, Emily Castonguay, Chi Nguyen and one of the event’s celebrities, former Major League Baseball player Jim Coates.

Starting in 1956, Coates spent a six-year stint as a pitcher for the New York Yankees, playing with the likes of Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford and Yogi Berra. Coates was successful on the mound and helped the Yankees win the World Series in 1961 and 1962.

Describing what it was like to win the championship so early in his career, he said it was “a lot of pressure,” noting that if you do not play well, there is “always somebody standing behind you, ready to take your job.”

During his career, he achieved a feat unlikely to be matched in the modern era. In a doubleheader against the visiting Detroit Tigers, he made appearances on the mound in each contest, earning the win in both games.

Happy to help raise money to further King’s Fork sports, he said, “You don’t mind doing something if it’s good charity, if you know where it’s going.”

Another celebrity competing in the Classic was former NFL player Cornell Gordon, who was a defensive back/safety for the New York Jets when they defeated the Baltimore Colts 16-7 in Super Bowl III.

Describing the experience of playing in the big game, he said it was nice. He added, “After we won it, it was even better.”

He was happy to be supporting King’s Fork’s football team, and said, “All Tidewater ball players, I’m rooting for them.”

Austin Saylor attended King’s Fork in his senior year and played golf under Coach Mitchell. He returned to support the school as a celebrity who is currently a PGA apprentice.

“I’m under somebody right now, working toward getting my PGA status,” he said.

The final celebrity player, Terry Hawkins, has a prolific background in law enforcement. He has served in the field for 49 years and been everything from a sheriff to a detective and he was also invited to attend the FBI National Academy.

Friends with Coach Jones for 20 years, Hawkins said he enjoyed playing for a good cause.

Sandy Winslow was winner of the longest drive and 50/50 putting contests, while Chi Nguyen won the closest to the pin contest, coming within seven feet, eight inches.

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