Mary Bird Perkins Merrill Lynch Open Sets New Record

More than $200,000 raised


(Baton Rouge, La.) As Mary Bird Perkins commemorates its 40th anniversary year, it is also celebrating the record-breaking success of the 2011 Mary Bird Perkins Merrill Lynch Open presented by Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center.

This year’s week-long golf fundraiser raised over $200,000 – all of which will directly support thousands of people throughout Mary Bird’s 18-parish service area. Begun over two decades ago by volunteers who wanted to make a difference in the lives of local cancer patients, the community’s continued support of this event helps make it possible to  deliver the Center’s mission to improve survivorship and lessen the burden of cancer through expert treatment, compassionate care, early detection, research and education.

“Merrill Lynch is proud to be recognized as the title sponsor of an event that has such a positive impact on the lives of local cancer patients,” said Scott Steele, director, Greater Louisiana Complex, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. “But I believe it’s even more important for the public to know that the Merrill Lynch employees themselves are also invested in the sponsorship because they have such a high regard for the Mary Bird Perkins’ organization.”

There were fun and exciting activities all week long, including: Pairings party at Mockler Beverage; Merrill Lynch mini Pro/Am shootout; Amedisys Pro-Am at the University Club; Adams Golf Pro Tour Series; Taste of the Tournament Par-Tee and Auction, underwritten by Louisiana Lottery Corporation and presented by the Belle of Baton Rouge Casino and Hotel; and the free Coca-Cola Junior Clinic, hosted in partnership with BREC and The First Tee.

The Amedysis Pro-Am took place on Tuesday, May 3 at the University Club, in the format of a four person shamble – a team composed of three amateur golfers and pro from the Adams Golf Pro Tour Series. “Despite chilling temperatures and the only day of rain during the entire week, a good time was had by all,” said Randy Haddad, associate director of development, Mary Bird Perkins.

The Taste of the Tournament Par-Tee and Auction was held in the hotel’s Capital Atrium Thursday evening, May 5. Innovative eats, sensational spirits, entertainment by the V-Tones, and incredible silent auction items were the perfect components for a relaxing and successful evening.  “The success of this event is due to the efforts of many,” stated co-chair deSha Carter, crediting two fellow co-chairs, the Taste committee, and those who donated silent auction items. “We are also grateful to our sponsors, the restaurants donating food, and those who were so generous with their bids.”

The 2011 Taste of the Tournament Committee was led by event co-chairs deSha Carter, Lauren Ferrand and Emily Mayo; Aza Bowlin, silent auction chair; Phyllis Cancienne and Joyce Dennis, sponsorship co-chairs; Courtney Nuckolls, promotions chair; and Kristin Stafford, decorations chair. Honorary Chairs Dee and Steve Keller and Renee and Brett Furr also attended and greeted guests.

On Friday, May 6, Adams Golf Pro Tour Series golfers shared their talents with over 60 aspiring young golfers, ages six to sixteen, at the free Junior Clinic. The First Tee promotes character development and life-enhancing values through the game of golf. Youngsters received an hour of personal instruction and professional tips from the pros, and a free sleeve of golf balls courtesy of Coca-Cola. Several lucky juniors had their names drawn for a new set of golf clubs.

The four-day professional event began with 102 players on the roster, hailing from 11 states and five foreign countries, playing BREC’s Santa Maria Golf Course on Wednesday, May 4. The field included Baton Rouge native Michael Arnaud; Michael Smith of Lafayette, LA, a multiple winner on the Adams Golf Pro Tour; and Rick Woodson, teaching professional and cancer survivor, to name a few. By the end of the 72-hole professional event on Saturday, May 7, Texas native Bill Allcorn was 12 under for the tournament, besting all others.“I’d like to thank the volunteers, staff and sponsors for putting on such a great tournament,” Allcorn said. “It makes it all especially that much more fun.”

“Community support is the cornerstone of Mary Bird Perkins,” said Todd Stevens, the organization’s president & CEO. “Thank you to the tournament organizing committee,  Santa Maria Golf Course, the Adams Golf pros, our tremendous sponsors, our media partners WAFB Channel 9 and Guaranty Broadcasting, and the many volunteers who donated their time to help beat this disease.”

The 2011 Golf Organizing Committee consisted of Hillar Moore, Jr. founding chair; Dick Briody, chair; Kurt LaCroix, Pro Tournament chair; John Schiller, co-sponsorship chair; Brad Supple, co-sponsorship chair; Bryan Lindsay, Pairings Party chair; Paul Crespo, Pairings Party committee; Mason Marsh, Pro-Am co-chair; Gil Brassard, Pro-Am co-chair; Eric Waechter, Pro-Am committee; Jeff Esnard, Pro-Am committee; Jack Terry, Junior Clinic chair;  Jason McKenzie, food & beverage co-chair; Nicole Young, food & beverage co-chair; Margaret Kennedy, food & beverage committee; Mike Patterson, raffle chair; Jude Barbier, volunteer co-chair; Scott Bogan, volunteer co-chair; Kim Boudreaux, volunteer committee; Chris Foot, volunteer committee; Fred Reno, housing chair; Brent Ledet, marketing chair; Chris Blades, marketing committee; Bridget Conrad, marketing committee; Jeff Routier, logistics chair; and Mike Smith, logistics committee.
To see highlights of this year’s activities, visit the Mary Bird Perkins Merrill Lynch Open page on Facebook Sponsorship opportunities are available now for next year’s tournament. For more information, please contact Randy Haddad 225.215.1208, or by email at