Monday, October 19, 2020
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Megan Furnish

Furnish shoots 92 at Junior PGA tourney

FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- Megan Furnish of Cedar Rapids struggled Tuesday and shot a 20-over-par 92 in the opening  round of the 36th Junior PGA Championship at Sycamore Hills Golf Club.

Furnish is tied for 74th place in a field of 78 golfers. She is 24 strokes behind the leader. Casey Danielson of Osceola, Wis., fired a 4-under-par 68 in the first round.

The 72-hole tournament continues through Friday.

Furnish will be a senior at Cedar Rapids Jefferson this year.


Zach Johnson (left) jokes with LPGA golfer Taylor Leon during the Zach Johnson Foundation Classic in Cedar Rapids on Aug. 1. PGA golfer Kyle Stanley is in the middle. (Photo by Margaret O'Banion)

Zach Johnson shows funny side in C.R.

Zach Johnson is funny.

Who knew?

When Zach gives TV interviews he's kind of, well, dull. There's no other way to describe it.

But when Zach took the microphone Monday at Elmcrest Country Club in Cedar Rapids, he was downright funny. He had everyone laughing, despite the scorching heat and brilliant sun.

The occasion was the inaugural Zach Johnson Foundation Classic, a wonderful event that raised money to help local kids with unmet needs. "Kids on Course," he calls it.

The event took in an estimated $500,000. Zach announced Monday that he will be donating another $500,000 of his own money to make the amount raised  $1 million.

Kurt Warner returned to Cedar Rapids to participate in the Zach Johnson Foundation Classic on Monday at Elmcrest Country Club. (Photo by Margaret O'Banion

Warner, Johnson make Cedar Rapids proud

They both graduated from Regis High School, they both became world-class athletes and they both care deeply about their hometown.

Yes, Kurt Warner and Zach Johnson have much in common.

Warner gladly returned to Cedar Rapids on Monday to participate in the Zach Johnson Foundation Classic at Elmcrest Country Club, helping his pal raise money for local kids.

Warner and his wife, Brenda, have their own foundation -- "First Things First" -- and he believes in giving back to the community that helped raise him.

"To me, that's what life is all about and how I've tried to live," he said Monday. "So I'm happy to come out here and support anything Zach does."

Warner made his mark as a quarterback in pro football. He was a two-time MVP in the NFL and led St. Louis to the Super Bowl title in 1999. He passed for 32,344 yards and 208 touchdowns during his 12-year career, retiring after the 2009 season as one of the most accurate passers in league history at 65.5 percent.

Warner, 40, lives in Arizona now, but he believes in helping his old friends (and strangers) in Cedar Rapids through the "First Things First" foundation, which he said is based on faith and family.

We try to come back with our foundation and do the things we can to help the community and help it grow," he said. "It's always nice to have an excuse to come back, and now to have somebody like Zach to partner with and do a lot of things for this community, it's fun and it's exciting.

"The people here continue to support us, so we're going to continue to do what we can to support the community."

Ryan Bowen participated in the Zach Johnson Foundation Classic at Elmcrest Country Club on Monday. He hopes to reboot his foundation after the NCAA advised him to curtail operations. (Photo by Margaret O'Banion)

NCAA put Ryan Bowen's foundation on hold

Ryan Bowen just wanted to help kids.

That's why Bowen and his wife, Wendy, started the Ryan Bowen Foundation when he was playing for the NBA's Denver Nuggets in 2004.

They bought bicycles as Christmas presents for underprivileged kids in Denver one year. They helped kids in southeast Iowa go to camps and attend tournaments.

When Bowen was playing for the Houston Rockets, his foundation sponsored a bus trip from Burlington to Chicago so kids could see the Rockets play the Chicago Bulls at the United Center.

"Things like that are what we really intended to do when we got it started," he said Monday while participating in the Zach Johnson Foundation Classic at Elmcrest Country Club.

Bowen is from Fort Madison and his wife is from Burlington. They just wanted to help.

Things went well until last year, when Bowen joined Fran McCaffery's basketball staff at the University of Iowa, his alma mater. The foundation gave non-atheltic scholarships to high school seniors, and Bowen figured he had better check with the NCAA to see if that was all right.

The answer was no, because it might violate NCAA recruiting rules, even though the recipients were not Division I athletes, just kids who could use a few extra dollars to help pay for college.

Harrison Barnes, the Ames basketball standout now playing at the University of North Carolina, visited the Zach Johnson Foundation Classic in Cedar Rapids on Monday. (Photo by Margaret O'Banion)

Harrison Barnes enjoys Zach Johnson Classic

The tall young man in the golf cart looked familiar Monday at Elmcrest Country Club in Cedar Rapids.

It was Harrison Barnes, back home in Iowa after playing basketball at the University of North Carolina this past year as a freshman.

Barnes interrupted his summer vacation in Ames to attend the Zach Johnson Foundation Classic.

"Yeah, I'm a golf fan," he said. "Hopefully, I'm going to be playing with these guys in a few years. I just came here to support Zach and his foundation."

Barnes could become one of the celebrities for this event in years to come. He'll play for the Tar Heels this year as a sophomore, but there's a chance the 6-foot-8 forward will turn pro after this season and enter the NBA draft.

Barnes led Ames High School to consecutive Class 4A state titles in 2009 and 2010, then helped North Carolina reach the Elite 8 of the NCAA tournament this past March and finish 29-8. He averaged 15.7 points and 5.8 rebounds for the Tar Heels.

Barnes considered entering the NBA draft this past spring, but elected to return to school.


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