A classic afternoon on the links

Published 9:07 pm Saturday, June 18, 2011

Foursome: A foursome watches a pitch to the green on the 14th hole during the second annual Ryan Beale Golf Classic at Nansemond River Golf Club on Friday. More than 120 golfers played, raising money for Nansemond-Suffolk alum and Lynchburg College student Ryan Beale. Beale played three sports as a Saint and lacrosse as an LC Hornet. He was paralyzed from the chest down in an automobile accident in October 2009.

With a couple goals and different sticks, one of Nansemond River Golf Club’s fairways could’ve played host to an outstanding lacrosse match Friday afternoon.

Many present and former Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, Lynchburg College and Hampden-Sydney College lacrosse players, with a few other recruits as well, were playing a slower-paced game and raising money for a close friend in the second annual Ryan Beale Golf Classic.

Beale was a lacrosse, volleyball and basketball standout as a Saint and went on to be a long-stick defender for Lynchburg, one of NCAA Division III’s top lacrosse programs.

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In October 2009, his junior year at Lynchburg, Beale was paralyzed from the chest down in an automobile accident.

Months of medical care and rehab in an Atlanta facility was just the beginning of a long road of rehabilitation and expenses for Beale and his family.

Former NSA teammate and longtime friend Kyle Jett came up with the golf tournament and fundraiser idea more than a year ago and the inaugural tournament last June was a huge success, raising $32,000.

“There are (golf) tournaments every day, but I think this one has really touched a lot of people around here because of Ryan and his family’s Suffolk roots,” Jett said.

Jett and Beale were lacrosse and basketball teammates from sixth and seventh grade on, on school teams and on Suffolk Lax club teams.

Even as collegiate rivals, as Jett was playing at conference foe Hampden-Sydney — where he became the Old Dominion Athletic Conference Player of the Year in 2010 and one of the best midfielders in HSC’s prestigious lacrosse history — Beale and Jett were still training partners during breaks from school.

In addition to volleyball in the fall season, Beale was an avid golfer and worked at Nansemond River.

Friday’s tournament was close to capacity at Nansemond River, with more than 120 golfers coming out. High school friends, teammates and coaches, college teammates and opponents, and past club teammates who were also Saint rivals at area private schools were back for this year’s Classic.

“One reason we have a lot of the same participants is because they love Ryan so much. He’s always such a positive influence. He’s happy and joking and he’s that way with everyone. It’s made my job easy. People want to come out,” Jett said.

Beale was back at Lynchburg this past semester, going to class and helping with the lacrosse team.

The scores were far from the main point of the day, but the top three foursomes were: in first with a round of 52, Frank Belvin, Frankie Belvin, Jim Leonard and A.T. Walthall, in second with a 56, Bobby Flintoff Sr., Bobby Flintoff Jr., Merrit Hooper and Jimmy Adams, and with a 57 in third, Scott Nash, Duke Van Selow, Kelly Holloman and Trenton Bishop.