DAVIDSON, N.C. — To kickoff Symetra Classic week at River Run Country Club, Symetra Tour professionals and NASCAR personalities teamed up on Monday afternoon for the River Run Shootout, pitting “Team NASCAR on NBC” versus “Team NASCAR on FOX.”
It was Shannon Fish (Spring, Texas) and Desiree Dubreuil (Santa Ana, California), joined by two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip and 1988 Talladega winner Phil Parsons, that comprised “Team NASCAR on FOX.”
The opposition of “Team NASCAR on NBC” featured Bertine Strauss (Pretoria, South Africa) and Laura Wearn (Charlotte, N.C.). They were paired with Rick Allen, the lead announcer for NASCAR on NBC broadcasts, and Steve Letarte, former Hendrick Motorsports crew chief for Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon.
“Watching these ladies play is inspiring,” said Allen. “They are impressive, their swings are incredible and so, if I could finally get consistent and play half as good as they do, I think it would help probably five or six strokes a round for me.”
The first group off matched Dubreuil and Parsons for FOX, against Strauss and Allen for NBC. They would both convert birdies on No. 2.
Meanwhile, action in group two started picking up on hole No. 3. That’s when Letarte rolled in a birdie to give NBC its first lead. Then on the par-3 4th, “Team NASCAR on FOX” found a bogey, before matching birdies on No. 5 with “Team NASCAR on NBC.”
Jump ahead to No. 6 and about the same time Wearn converted birdie back on No. 5 for NBC, Dubreuil sunk her own birdie for FOX, trimming NBC’s lead to one. Shortly after on the same hole, just a different group, Wearn stayed on the birdie train to give NBC a two-shot cushion. A bogey from the first group ahead about the same time she found the bottom of the cup could not stop the momentum.
“It was really great, I honestly had no idea what to expect,” Wearn said. “It’s one of the best Pro-Am events that I’ve done. We had a blast, so hopefully the rest of the week will be this much fun. If it is, then I think it will be a good week.”
As all waited for the finish on No. 9 green, Letarte put the icing on the cake, quite literally. On his birthday, he drained the dagger for NBC to win the inaugural River Run Shootout by one.
“I think it’s hard for people to understand unless you’ve been in professional sports, whatever sport it is, just the competitive nature it takes to compete,” said Letarte. “It’s amazing to see how well they strike the golf ball and more than that, just how they break down the course. It was fun and anytime you can thump Michael Waltrip, it’s a winner.”