Two local universities team up at Oak Hill Country Club for a good cause

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PITTSFORD, N.Y. The PGA championship week at Oak Hill Country Club is five days out.

But before we get there, it’s time to fundraise. St. John Fisher University and Nazareth College’s mascots teamed up Tuesday to raise money for PGA Reach. Although these two schools are usually rivals, Tuesday was more than just a battle of the beaks.

The best players in golf will tee off next week at Oak Hill Country Club. But Tuesday was a day for the birds, Fisher’s cardinal and Nazareth’s golden flyer.

“This is such an exciting time for us to come together as two neighboring institutions of higher education and to celebrate the PGA coming to town and specifically to support PGA Reach,” Nazareth President Beth Paul said.

Tuesday’s object was to set a fundraising goal for PGA Reach.

“Our mission is to grow the game of golf and provide access to golf to our three founding pillars, which is the military, youth and traditionally underrepresented groups in the community,” said Tori Schiro, CEO and executive director of PGA Reach of Western New York.

Each mascot got to hit the ball six times on the first hole of the west course at Oak Hill. During Nazareth’s mascot, Swoop’s, first shot, he got a little help from Cardinal.

“I had high expectations as I normally do for Cardinal and Cardinal exceeded those expectations,” Saint John Fisher University President Gerard Rooney said.

The birds racked up 2,250 yards altogether, so people are asked to donate $22.50 apiece to PGA Reach. While Cardinal earned bragging rights as he totaled the most yardage, he and Swoop left the course as friends.