One hundred twenty-eight players making up a total of 32 teams transported by 64 golf carts and supported by 18 Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) volunteers made up the participants of the Seventh Annual Southeastern Classic Golf Tournament. Held on Sept. 23, the official second day of fall, crisp temperatures, cerulean blue skies and the first signs of leaves changing color set the scene for those coming to celebrate the initiatives of SEBTS. The tournament was marked by a spirit of sweet fellowship among the guests and pristine playing conditions at TPC Wakefield Plantation in Raleigh, N.C.
The schedule of events for the day included welcome and registration, tee off at 11:15 a.m. with a shotgun start and a hole-in-one competition. As the day came to a close, scorecards were submitted and the final reception featured guest speaker Dennis Darville, senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Rocky Mount, N.C. and the presentation of tournament awards.
“The key to a great golf tournament is the combination of a great cause and great sponsors,” said Daniel Palmer, director of financial development at SEBTS. “Our cause is the global advance of the gospel: preparing men and women to employ their hands, feet and mouths in declaring and demonstrating the love of God in Christ alone.
“Our sponsors are the best in their fields, dedicated to excellence and professionalism in everything they do,” said Palmer. “Their generous support has made the Classic one of the Triangle’s premier tournaments. We simply could not do it without them, and we are grateful to God for their partnership in helping us train more than 3,000 champions for Christ.”
The title sponsor for the tournament was Crenshaw Consulting Engineers. The lunch sponsor was LifeWay Christian Resources and the gold sponsors included CAPTRUST Financial Advisors, Power Secure and Robling Medical. The silver sponsors were BB&T, BB&T Home Mortgage, Candlewood Suites, Charles Boyd of Henderson, Focus Design Builders, McGladrey, ServiceMaster Clean, Southern Piping Company and Wells Fargo, along with 24 hole sponsors. Had one of the participants succeeded in hitting a hole-in-one on hole 11, the golfer would have won a car from Charles Boyd of Henderson.
“It was a great day for Southeastern,” said Art Rainer, vice president for institutional advancement at Southeastern. “We are incredibly thankful for all of the tournament sponsors. Their participation was an investment in future pastors and missionaries who will take the Gospel to people groups located around the world.”
At the tournament reception Darville shared his testimony with the players. His current pastoral role is preceded by his work as the former vice president of institutional advancement at SEBTS. Darville’s leadership is credited with the launch of the Southeastern Classic.
“I pretty much owe my life to this school. I spent a decade at Southeastern,” said Darville. He earned his B.A. in Biblical Studies from The College at Southeastern and his M.Div. from SEBTS as well. Darville faced many challenges in life as a college golfer, campus minister to college students and businessman in the world.
Darville was transparent about his failures and successes that make him the man he is today. “I loved questions but I didn’t really love answers,” said Darville. “With my track record it is really easy to work with those with broken lives. … We are all broken and posers, we work very hard at posing. Truth be known, we all have hearts longing and yearning for something that matters.”
The tournament raised over $40,000 in support for training the seminary’s students and faculty to fulfill the Great Commission. The first place tournament winners in the gross division were Karl Kimball, Andrew Pate, Steve Griffin and Tim Eckstein and the first in the net division were Brent Robling, David Hood, Richard Horton and Ed Pinon on the Robling Medical team.
Southeastern is grateful for an overwhelmingly successful tournament and is already looking forward to hosting the Classic Golf Tournament next year.
To view photos from the Seventh Annual Southeastern Classic please click here