Annual Saluki Golf Scramble held at Kokopelli for first time

MARION - More than 25 teams and 165 golfers hit the links at Kokopelli Golf Club in Marion on Friday for the annual Saluki Golf Scramble. It featured dozens of former Salukis as well as former SIU golfers, including a couple that saw a major accomplishment this season.

SIU Director of Golf Justin Fetcho said the event started around six years ago, after he wrapped up his first season in 2015. The event has grown through the years and even had a venue change this year with Kokopelli hosting the event on Friday.

"People like what we're doing and we try to stick with that," he said. "From year one to now, we've kind of had the same basic model and it's worked pretty well."

Fetcho said the athletic department does a phenomenal job in providing what the program needs but Friday's event will give the Salukis a little bit extra for the coming season.

"It allows us to be able to provide for our team above and beyond," he said.

Funds raised from the annual event will go toward equipment, apparel and helping with tournaments, Fetcho said.

Two former Salukis on the course Friday included Luke Gannon and Britt Pavelonis, who both played major tournaments this year. Gannon competed at the U.S. Open while Pavelonis played in the U.S. Senior Open.

Fetcho said the event wouldn't be possible without everyone working toward a common goal of bettering the SIU Golf program.

"It's really cool to have ... the community say we want to give our time and our money to SIU Golf," he said. "I feel like there's not enough thank yous for me to give.

"The people who are here are what make it. What I love about Southern Illinois is the people. That's what makes this place so special."