Ole Miss Seals its Legacy at the 2019 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge

Written by Lauren Bassett

On a beautiful spring day at Reynolds Lake Oconee, Coach Matt Luke of Ole Miss and his celebrity counterpart, Wesley Walls, claimed their fourth consecutive victory at the 13th annual Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge.

With an impressive nine birdies and two eagles, the team finished 13-under par against a field comprised of 11 other NCAA head coaches and their celebrity/athlete partners. Team Georgia, Coach Kirby Smart and David Dukes, finished in second place at 11-under par.

Despite the circumstances these coaches normally meet under, a fierce battle on the football field, here they had a singular purpose in mind.

“I look forward to seeing all of the other coaches in a fun and non-competitive environment, where we are all focused on raising money for our charities,” said Coach Smart.

Created in 2007, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge has raised a total of $8.4 million in scholarships and charity, with teams competing for a share of the purse each year. Team Ole Miss took home $100,000 spilt between an endowed scholarship at Ole Miss and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter at the university.

This win marks the first time in the event’s history where a team has won the tournament in four consecutive years and ties Ole Miss with Georgia Tech for the most wins overall.

“I have been attending the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge for 10 years now,” said Paul Johnson, retired Georgia Tech head coach. “It is such a fun event and brings us all together for the worthwhile cause of raising money for charity.”

In addition to Tuesday’s main event at The Oconee course, the second annual Legends Tournament took place at The Landing course and consisted of eight former coaches vying for a share of a $50,000 purse towards their selected charity. Former Vanderbilt head coach and CFP Selection Committee member, Bobby Johnson, partnered with former Boston College and North Carolina State head coach, Tom O’Brien, to claim a victory and will split their earnings between Sea Island Habitat for Humanity and U.S.M.C. Toys for Tots.

The previous day, Auburn head coach, Gus Malzahn took home the Closest to the Pin title for the second consecutive year in the coach division. The event, held at Reynolds Kingdom of Golf presented by TaylorMade, featured all 12 coaches competing in a bracket-style format, shooting 88 yards away from the pin. Each coach received two shots per round with the best shot determining who would advance. With the win, Coach Malzahn received $5,000 for his charity, the Malzahn Family Foundation.

“This is a first-class event and the people make it so special,” said Malzahn. “We get to bring our wives along and have wonderful fellowship with the other coaches.”

Overall, a total of $831,280 in charitable giving was distributed by the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge this year, helping make the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl college football’s most charitable bowl game.

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