Talon News - Good Local News

By Jacque Ritchie


Robbie Ward Memorial Tournament


L-R Don Greenwood, Shelby Bradford, Robert Ward Sr. 2018 AHS graduate Shelby Bradford is awarded $2,000 scholarship

Photos and Story By Jacque Ritchie, TALON

On Saturday July 21, 18 teams teed up for the 14th Annual Robbie Ward Memorial Golf Tournament (RWMGT) at Hidden Valley Golf Course in Aztec. The 2018 RWMGT winners were Team Scott (aka Sandbaggers) shooting a 55, -15 under par, followed by Team Ragnel with 59 finishing neck-in-neck with Team Swope at 60. Izzy Peralta won the Women's Long Drive Competition. Adrian Quintana knocked out the Men's Long Drive honors. "We have a great turn-out every year," said Kathy Ward gazing around at the crowd relaxing post-competition on the patio of the course eatery Ruby's in the Valley.

"This tournament is held in loving memory of our son Robert Glen Ward Jr." 'Robbie' as he was known, passed at age 18, from a sudden cardiac event. Robbie's parents and their many friends and supporters decided to honor Robbie's memory through golf, the sport Robbie loved and worked so hard to master. Mom, Kathy said, "He loved the game and wanted to play pro...He had been playing since he was about two-years-old. I think he could have been the next Tiger Woods." Kathy carefully controlled her emotion and soldiered on, "Sports are all-important for young people. The discipline they learn playing a sport like golf helps develop character and necessary life skills that will see them through all aspects of life in the future...besides kids need to stay busy instead of sitting in front of the TV, computer or playing video games"

The proceeds from the tourney go to scholarships for area high school students. This year the RWMGT $2,000 scholarship went to 2018 AHS graduate Shelby Bradford. Bradford plans to study pre-med at UNM and wants to remain in New Mexico to practice family medicine because of the "high need for more doctors" in rural areas. Bradford gratefully accepted the award on Saturday saying, "I don't know where I'd be if it wasn't for First Tee...it's not just about golf, it's about character building...I'd also like to thank my mom for signing me up at the Boys & Girls Club years ago, even though I hated her for it then."

To be eligible for the RWMGT scholarship a student must be an area high school student that participates on a golf team. Scholarship awards range from $500 to $2,000. This season saw only one applicant. "The hardest thing is to get kids to apply for some reason...hey, it's free money," said a mystified Bob Ward. Ward went on to praise local golfers for their faithful participation in the event saying, "What is so great is no matter what, the locals always come through. They are amazing!"

Emotions ran especially high, this year as Ward presented a plaque to the parents of Melissa Greenwood for her years of invaluable assitance in initiating and maintaining the annual RWMGT. Melissa tragically passed away in November 2017 of complications from a pre-existing medical condition. According to Greenwood's Dad, Don Greenwood is the AztecHigh School golf coach, "Melissa was instrumental in starting the golf team at AHS, if it wasn't for her inspiration, I never would have gone forward with it."

Saturday's winners recieved all-important course bragging rights plus many valuable prizes and gift cards.


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