|2005 BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs Golf Tournament|
GREENVILLE, S.C. (July 18, 2005) - The fifth-annual BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs golf tournament raised $604,284 for 28 Upstate and Western North Carolina charities. The check was presented to representatives from each of the participating charities by officials from South Carolina Charities, Inc., at an event today held in the BMW Zentrum Museum on the grounds of BMW Manufacturing Co. The tournament has raised more than $3 million for Upstate South Carolina and Western North Carolina in just five years. Last year's BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs raised a record $752,650. "We didn't raise as much charity dollars as we did last year, mainly due to expanding to three courses," said Darin MacDonald, tournament director of the BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs. "The addition of Walnut Cove in Western North Carolina was a huge success and brought our tournament to a lot more people in our communities. Players, fans, charities, volunteers were very complimentary of the format and that we are able to touch more lives. This paves the way for bigger tournaments and charity dollars in the future." Thirty thousand (30,000) fans witnessed former Texas A&M graduate Shane Bertsch win the weather-shortened tournament. The win was Bertsch's first since 2000 when he won the Upstate Classic, the predecessor of the BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs. Bertsch finished the tournament at -12 under par (69, 68, 64) beating Bubba Watson and Charley Hoffman who finished tied for second place at -11 under par. The win earned Bertsch $112,500, skyrocketing him up the Nationwide Tour money list. The win is a major step toward Bertsch competing on the PGA TOUR next year. The top 20 money leaders on the Nationwide Tour automatically earn playing status on the PGA TOUR in 2006. The event was shortened from 72 holes to 54 holes after inclement weather cancelled Saturday's round. Play resumed on Sunday at all three courses - Cliffs Valley, The Cliffs at Walnut Cove, and The Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards - with Bertsch winning at the Cliffs Valley course. Originally, all golf was to be played at Cliffs Valley on Sunday. Bertsch was in the second group to tee off on Sunday. He had to wait :45 for the other golfers to finish before being crowned champion. Jon McClure of ISO Poly in Greenville and his professional partner Tim O'Neal won the Pro-Am portion of the tournament at -35 under par. Janet Jones-Gretzky, wife of NHL legend Wayne Gretzky, and her professional partner Ryan Hietala were the best finishing pro-celebrity team at -31 under par. Other special events that took place as part of the BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs were also successful, including the Celebrity Walk of Fame held in downtown Greenville, and The Blue Dogs concert at the Bi-Lo Center. All events witnessed big crowds and support. The BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs is the only tournament on the Nationwide PGA Tour where amateurs and celebrities are grouped with Nationwide PGA Tour professionals in a three-day better-ball competition. Amateurs, celebrities and pros rotated between each of the three courses on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with the 14 lowest scoring pro-amateur/pro-celebrity teams advancing to play Sunday's final round at Cliffs Valley. Celebrities played once at each course on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Cliffs Valley served as the host course. The professional winner of the overall 72-hole event took home $112,500 from the total purse of $625,000, which is one of the largest purses on the Nationwide Tour. Amateurs and celebrities competed for individual prizes and cash donations to the charity of their choice out of the beneficiaries selected by South Carolina Charities, Inc. Celebrities that participated in this year's tournament included: Kevin Costner and his wife Christine, Catherine Bell, Wayne Gretzky and his wife Janet Jones-Gretzky, Kurt Russell, former Vice President Dan Quayle, Kevin Sorbo, Brad Daugherty, Cheech Marin, John O'Hurley and his wife Lisa Mesloh-O'Hurley, Steve Spurrier, George Rogers, Brian Griese, Steve Bartkowski, Ben Wright, Jennifer Mills, and Steve Nicklaus. Famed international golfer and Grand Slam winner Gary Player also participated. The 28 charities that benefited from the golf tournament were: A Child's Haven, Inc.; Blue Ridge Literacy Council; Bon Secours St. Francis Health System Foundation, Inc.; Boy Scouts of America; Camperdown Academy; CARY Center; Compass of Carolina; Fellowship of Christian Athletes; Habitat for Humanity; Hospice House; Mobile Meals of Spartanburg County, Inc.; Mountain Area Child and Family Center; National Christian College Athletic Association; North Greenville College; Partners for a Healthy Community, Inc.; Peace Center Foundation; Phillis Wheatley Association; Pickens County Sheriff's Scholarship Foundation; Ronald McDonald House of Greenville; South Carolina Junior Golf Foundation - Upstate Programs; St. Joseph's Catholic School; The Charles Lea Center; The Eblen Charities; The Walker Foundation; United Ministries; YMCA, Young Life; Zest Quest. For more information on the BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs golf tournament call (864) 297-1660 or visit the tournament's website at www.bmwcharitygolf.com.