Week 9 Approach Shots: BMW Charity Pro-Am

May 13, 2009

LONG AND LEAN: Celebrities and Nationwide Tour players will be side-by-side this week at the popular BMW Charity Pro-Am at three courses in North Carolina and South Carolina. The Thornblade Club is the host course, with Bright's Creek Golf Club and The Carolina Country Club also part of the rotation.

Quick Facts
WHAT: Ninth of 29 Nationwide Tour events
WHEN: May 14-17
WHERE: Greer, S.C.; Spartanburg S.C.; Mill Spring N.C.
COURSE: Thornblade Club, The Carolina Country Club, Bright's Creek Golf Club
WHAT'S AT STAKE: $700,000 purse ($126,000 for winner)
KEY LINKS: Tee times | Leaderboard | Tournament page | "THE 25"

In 2008, the first year the three courses hosted the event, David Mathis cruised to a three-shot victory, while Chris Nallen teamed with hockey legend Wayne Gretzky to win the team competition.

Eight of the top 10 money winners on the 2009 Nationwide Tour are playing this week, including No. 1 earner Michael Sim.

TOURNAMENT NOTES: This marks the Tour's 18th consecutive year in the greater Greenville area. Only four tournaments on the schedule have been around longer, and they all remain from the Tour's initial year in 1990. ...

This year's tournament returns to a trio of courses that played host to the event for the first time in 2008. The Thornblade Club will once again serve as the host venue in the rotation. The Carolina Country Club in Spartanburg and Mill Spring's Bright's Creek Golf Club also return to host play for the first three rounds. ...

A year ago, David Mathis earned his first career title with a near wire-to-wire run. Mathis was one stroke off the pace after the initial 18 holes and then grabbed both the second- and third-round leads. His final-day 68 held off a host of challengers and gave him a three-stroke win over Roger Tambellini. In addition to the $121,500 first-place check, Mathis also collected the keys to a BMW X5 automobile. ...

This week's event will feature 168 professionals teaming up with celebrity and amateur partners in a better-ball competition. For the pros, there will be a 54-hole cut and the top 60 players (and ties) will advance to Sunday's final round. The top 14 amateur teams will also move on to play Sunday. Chris Nallen teamed with hockey legend Wayne Gretzky to win the Pro-Celebrity division last year. Nallen, a lifelong New York Rangers hockey fan, and Gretzky finished at 46 under, two strokes in front of the team of Colt Knost and Javier Colon. ...

This year's tournament will be highlighted by 21 of "THE 25," the leading money-winners in 2009. Michael Sim, with a victory and three additional top-four finishes, heads the field. Sim, a 24-year old Australian, is one of seven tournament champions who will be competing this week. He is joined by other winners Garth Mulroy, Vance Veazey, Alex Prugh, Alistair Presnell, Steven Alker and Bubba Dickerson.

The tournament purse will total $700,000, with $126,000 going to the champion. Shane Bertsch, the only two-time winner (2000 and 2005), heads the tournament's all-time money list despite not playing since his second victory. Bertsch has earned $248,683 in his nine starts, which also include a tie for fourth in 1997 and a tie for third in 2004. Last year's winner, David Mathis, is second on the all-time list, with $133,687. ...

Weather forecast for the BMW Charity Pro-Am
Partly cloudy
Temp: 83 high/65 low
Isolated storms
Temp: 86 high/65 low
Isolated storms
Temp: 83 high/65 low
Temp: 71 high/53 low
DTN/Meteorlogix is the official weather provider of the PGA TOUR. For more information, click here
BMW Charity Pro-Am snippets
Celebrities: A number of celebrities will play the BMW Charity Pro-Am including actors Oliver Hudson, Dennis Quaid and Greg Kinnear along with former standout athletes George Rogers and Sterling Sharpe, among others.
Good omen: In the 17 previous years of the BMW Charity Pro-Am, the winners have gone on to graduate to the PGA TOUR at season's end 15 times.
This week in history: May 13, 1990: Jeff Maggert won the Knoxville Open with an eagle on the first extra hole to defeat Greg Ladehoff. Maggert would go on to be named the Nationwide Tour's first Player of the Year.

Holding the first-round lead hasn't meant much over the years. Only two of 17 first-day leaders/co-leaders have managed to go on and win the tournament. The first was Russell Beiersdorf in 1992, and the other was Tripp Isenhour in 2003. ...