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Golfers playing Fox Chapel tourney offer Habitat for Humanity some hands

| Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 12:05 a.m.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Constellation Senior Player and defending champion of the event at Fox Chapel Golf Club, Joe Daley, digs along Margaret Rumley, 88, of Verona's sidewalk as part of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh's 'A Brush of Kindness,' on Tuesday, June 25, 2013.

Wielding hedge clippers, Joe Daley chopped overgrown vines. Peter Senior carried the plants to the garbage, and Sandy Lyle laid fresh mulch at the base of a tree.

The champion golf trio on Tuesday landscaped the Penn Hills home of a widow, before the Constellation Senior Players Championship at Fox Chapel Golf Club. Opening-round play begins Thursday.

“A few guys got together to lend a hand and help someone who needs help,” said Senior, 53, of Australia. He won the Australian Open in December, becoming the oldest player to secure the title.

Before tournaments, golfers typically volunteer in communities by visiting hospitals or teaching children to play golf, said Mark Williams, director of communications for the Champions Tour.

The players joined about a dozen volunteers from Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh to chop hedges, weed and plant flowers along the walkway leading to the home where Margaret Rumley has lived for 25 years.

“I'm very happy for the work they're doing,” Rumley, 88, said.

Rumley contacted Habitat because her roof needed repairs she couldn't afford. Volunteers from the organization fixed the roof and will spend more time landscaping and repairing her home.

The effort is part of a Habitat program called “A Brush with Kindness.” Instead of rebuilding a person's home, volunteers perform interior and exterior work, including fixing windows, painting and replacing doors.

The campaign will allow volunteers to help more people throughout Pittsburgh, because the projects aren't as costly or extensive as building a home, Executive Director Maggie Withrow said. Since 1986, the organization has provided housing and repaired homes for about 80 low-income families. With this program, Withrow anticipates volunteers will assist 150 people over three years.

The golfers who helped at Rumley's home took time to have some fun. As they landscaped, 1988 Masters champion Lyle, 55, of England putted an orange plastic golf ball alongside Rumley's bed of newly planted flowers.

Reigning champion Daley said his sights are set on winning the tournament for a second year in a row.

“My game's been coming along,” the 52-year-old Chestnut Hill native said.

Christina Gallagher is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5637 or cgallagher@tribweb.com.

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