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Nick Taylor, Blair E. Batson are the big winners from the Sanderson Farms Championsip

After winning his first PGA Tour tournament Sunday at the Sanderson Farms Championship at the Country Club of Jackson, Nick Taylor called his wife, who was working a 12-hour shift at a hospital in his hometown of Abbotsford, British Colombia.

She cried.

Tears of joy.

“It might be her last double shift for a while,” said Taylor, whose final-round 66 earned him a two-stroke win over Boo Weekley and Jason Bohn, a $720,000 paycheck, a three-year tour exemption and a bronze rooster trophy.

But how fitting it was that Andi Taylor was working at a hospital while her husband of seven months claimed victory. Because the real winner of this event may be the Friends of Children’s Hospital and Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital in Jackson, the primary beneficiary of the tournament’s profits.

While the financial numbers won’t be final for a few weeks, Sanderson Farms CEO Joe Sanderson hinted at the success of this year’s tournament, which this year played at a new course and on a new date.

“Revenue more than doubled what they have been in the past,” said Sanderson. “So I would anticipate that our charitable contribution will double to Batson. Last year we donated $500,000, and that was with private donations added in. We got about $300,000 from the tournament. I’m expecting just from the tournament to maybe get close to a million dollars.

“The efforts that were put into this match with the needs of that hospital, and that’s the very least we should be doing.  You would think that around the metro area of Jackson it would be easy to raise a million dollars. But we’ve had great corporate response from people who were not participating in the past, and I’m pleased about that.”

“Once Sanderson Farms got behind this project (last year), our goal was to stay ahead of Joe,” said Johnny Lang, president of Centry Club Charities, which helps promote charities through golf. “We hope to present a big Christmas check to Batson.

“But this is just another step. This isn’t the top. We have our first full-time team in place, and they love being here. I can’t wait to see where this goes in the this tournament over the next several years.”

This comes after Sanderson said the tournament took a risk by moving the tournament from Annandale to the Country Club of Jackson and changing the tour date from mid-summer to early November.

“The accommadations were outstanding, the service was outstanding and the golf course held its own,” said Sanderson. “As you know, when we made this decision to move the location, in my mind that was the largest risk.

“I knew November was the right time, but I was not as familiar with this course as I was Annandale.”

“It ended up the course held its own very well, and the scores indicate that. And the weather ended up better than it was in July. On both counts, we made a good decision.”

The course gave up a winning total of 17-under-par over 72 holes, which was a more competitive score than many expected. And the weather was comfortably cool with brilliant sunshine every day.

“If you put the pins in the middle of the greens and play from the front tees, the members love this course,” said Lang, but if you move the tees back and put the pins on the corners, it can be tough.

“The PGA had no issues with this tournament when it came in here earlier  this year.”

As for the unusual bronze rooster trophy, indicative of the main sponsor’s product, Nick Taylor has no problems with it after posting his first victory in seven professional starts.

“I love it. It’s my first one!” said the former University of Washington golfer. “I like roosters now. It’s my favorite animal!”


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