A record field of 104 teams is set to compete this weekend in the third annual Craig Bowers Memorial Monster Ball Golf Tournament on two courses in Greenville.
The nine-hole layouts of Wright Park Municipal and Oak Creek Country Club will be filled on Saturday and Sunday with two-player scramble teams in eight flights, including a championship flight that might be the toughest of any tournament in Greenville history.
“We’ve got some really exciting players,” said Kevin Bowers, who serves on the committee for the tournament named in honor of his brother. “We have one team that played (NCAA) Division I golf at Baylor three years ago.”
One of the top names on the entry list for the championship flight is Jaxon Brigman, a longtime professional who finished 10th at the Byron Nelson PGA tournament in Irving back in 2005. Brigman, who played college golf at Oklahoma State, also finished 44th that year at the FedEx St. Jude Classic.
Corey Stone, who finished second with partner Alan Hawkins at the first Bowers tournament in 2012, is paired with Dustin Risdon, who’s won three times on the tour in his native Canada.
Local golfer Eric Kelly, who won this tournament by six shots with partner Billy Blankenship in 2012, is paired with former Midwestern State golfer Hunter Linscombe. Kelly holds the course record at Oak Creek with a 63.
Louisiana golfer Brian Rowell and his caddy on the Adams tour, Michael Meyer, won last year’s tournament by four strokes after firing a 10-under 60 in the first round at Wright Park and a 16-under 56 in the final round at Oak Creek. Rowell played in the tournament after missing the cut at the OK Kids Korral Championship that same week in Norman, Okla. Bowers said Rowell is entered in the same Adams tour tournament and will miss the Monster tournament if he survives the cut in Norman.
This year’s tournament will feature some Bowers family members. Kevin is paired with his 10-year-old son, Travis. Bobby Bowers, Kevin’s father, is paired with his grandson, Caden, 11.
The event is named for Craig “Monster” Bowers, an avid golfer, former basketball and baseball player for the Greenville Lions who was also an assistant basketball coach for the Greenville Lions and an assistant principal at Royse City High School. Bowers died in a skiing accident in Colorado in 2012. Proceeds from the tournament benefit local charities as well as a college scholarship fund for Bowers’ three children.
The first tournament attracted 84 teams. Last year’s event drew 95 teams.
“We filled up two weeks ago,” said Kevin Bowers. “We stopped it at 104 teams.”
Tee times for the morning and evening shifts are at 7:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. The top flights will play at Wright Park on Saturday and Oak Creek on Sunday. The other half of flights will play Oak Creek and then Wright Park.
The tournament also includes chipping and long drive contests on Friday and a Little Monsters tournament for the kids starting at 2:30 p.m. Thursday at Wright Park. There’s also musical entertainment planned for Saturday night, including singer Randy Hawkins.