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For the week of August 23 through 29, 2000

Thompson belts one long and straight

24th tournament nears $500,000 to fight leukemia

The fund-raising was "off the charts" when the 24th annual Danny Thompson Memorial golf tournament was staged Aug. 16-19 on the Elkhorn and Sun Valley golf courses.

In fact, the Thompson Memorial is nearing the $5 million mark for a quarter-century of its golf and social gatherings each August at Sun Valley.

Tournament director Georgie Fenton made the "off the charts" remark Monday, after many of the 400 conventioneers had left with great memories of their four-day stay.

Fenton was very pleased with the response of corporate sponsors and the 256 golfers to the tournament’s goal—raising funds for leukemia research.

She said, "I’m 95 percent certain we’ll reach our goal of raising a record $500,000." Last year the tournament raised $440,000.

In 23 previous years, the Thompson Memorial has raised nearly $4.5 million for cancer research, split between the University of Minnesota Leukemia Research Foundation and Mountain States Tumor Institute of Boise.

A highlight of the benefit was the seventh annual Thompson Memorial live and silent auction Friday at Sun Valley's River Run Lodge.

"We exceeded last year’s auction by 30 percent," said Fenton.

The most lucrative live auction items were a private jet golf trip that went for $30,000, a 2001 Harley Davidson XLH Sportster 883 that sold for $20,000, and two tickets to a 2001 NASCAR race event—in the Valvoline team suite—that went for $13,000.

Winning foursome in the two-day golf tournament featured Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), Charlie Shipp, John Blount and Patrick Williams. They carded a score of 122-123 for 245 for their tours of Elkhorn and Sun Valley.

Sharing the gross-stroke men’s title were Joe Augustus and Bob Okun at 142, while Tim Hosking (127) was net winner. Women’s gross winner was Lori Cornell (166). Net champion was Lisa Piccione (139).

Among closest-to-the-pin prize winners were Hailey’s Johnny Unser at Sun Valley Friday. Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Bruce Hurst was a proximity winner Friday at Elkhorn. Basketball’s Danny Ainge won longest drive on each golf course.

Playing in a foursome were Hurst, Danny Ainge, Don Ainge and Gary Sowards.

Don Ainge, who is Danny Ainge’s father, was this year’s recipient of the prestigious Chairman’s Award. Don Ainge, president and CEO of the San Jose-based Ainge Marketing Services, has been a member of the Thompson Memorial’s board of directors since 1987.

Fenton said the tournament should be bigger and better next Aug. 22-25, when it will be held for the 25th time. Special celebrity appearances are planned. Tournament organizers will single out those who have participated since 1977.

The tournament is named for Danny Thompson, a Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers infielder who died of leukemia in 1976 at 29.


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