Mathis wins 2008 BMW Pro-Am

Published 1:44 pm Monday, May 19, 2008

Fifty thousand fans, the most in tournament history, witnessed David Mathis win the eighth-annual BMW Charity Pro-Am golf tournament held at Thornblade Club on Sunday.

The win was the first for the Winston-Salem, N.C. native, who finished the tournament at ‐20 under par (65, 65, 68, 68) beating Roger Tambellini by three strokes.

The win earned Mathis $121,500 and skyrocketed him from 44th place to fourth on the Nationwide Tour money list. Mathis has earned a total of $166,479 so far this year and is well on his way to competing on the PGA TOUR next year. The top 25 money leaders on the Nationwide Tour automatically earn playing status on the PGA TOUR in 2009.

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NHL superstar Wayne Gretzky and his professional partner Chris Nallen won the Pro-Am/Pro-Celeb portion of the tournament at -46 under par. Gretzky won a BMW Z4 Roadster for winning and he and Nallen donated their $10,000 winnings to The Charles Lea Center.

R&B singer/songwriter Javier Colon and his professional partner Colt Knost finished second at -44 under par. They donated their $9,000 winnings to The Ronald McDonald House. Fred Mercer, an entrepreneur from Greenville, S.C., and his professional partner Todd Fischer finished fourth overall and were the top scoring Pro-Am team at -37 under par.

Complete scoring can be found on the tournament&squo;s website at by clicking on the &dquo;Leaderboard&dquo; feature box.

Bright&squo;s Creek Golf Club in Polk County was one of the host courses for the event, which also benefited several local charities, including FENCE, Hospice of the Carolina Foothills, Polk County Red Cross, Polk County Sheltered Workshop, Thermal Belt Outreach Ministry, The Foothills Village and the Tryon Fine Arts Center.

Celebrities that competed in this year&squo;s tournament included Joe Pesci, Dennis Quaid, Luke Wilson, Greg Kinnear, Kurt Russell, Catherine Bell, Wayne Gretzky, Janet Jones-Gretzky, Ty Gretzky, Dave Coulier, Stefanie Schaeffer, Patrick Warburton, Oliver Hudson, Michael Pena, Sterling Sharpe, Kordell Stewart, Kevin Sorbo, Jason Dohring, Josh Kelley, Cheech Marin, Javier Colon, Steve Azar, Gary Valentine, Mark Rypien, Branford Marsalis, Pat Green, George Rogers, Ben Wright and Jennifer Mills.

The 19 charities that benefited from the golf tournament were: A Child&39;s Haven, Inc., Anderson Area YMCA, Palmetto Council Boy Scouts, Blue Ridge Council Boy Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs of Greenville, Boys and Girls Clubs of the Upstate, Camp Greenville, Compass of Carolina, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, FENCE (Foothills Equestrian Nature Center), Hidden Treasure, Mountain Area Child and Family Center, National Christian College Athletic Association, Phillis Wheatley Association, Inc., Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Carolinas, St. Joseph&39;s School, The Charles Lea Center, The Walker Foundation of The South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind, and United Ministries.

Three groups ‐ Mobile Meals of Spartanburg, South Carolina Junior Golf Foundation and Upstate Alliance Educational Foundation ‐ are charitable partners of the BMW Charity Pro-Am and had events that took place as part of the tournament.

Fifty-two additional charities participated in the tournament&squo;s inaugural ticket sales program that allowed each charity to keep all proceeds from $25 general admission tickets that it sold.

The BMW Charity Pro-Am is the only tournament on the Nationwide Tour where amateurs and celebrities are grouped with Nationwide Tour professionals in a four-day better-ball competition. Amateurs, celebrities and pros rotate 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&squo;s final round at Thornblade Club. The professional winner of the overall 72-hole event takes home $121,500 from the total purse of $675,000, which is one of the largest purses on the Nationwide Tour, as well as a brand new BMW X5 Sports Activity Vehicle. Amateurs and celebrities compete for individual prizes and cash donations to the charity of their choice out of the beneficiaries selected by South Carolina Charities, Inc.

The first seven tournaments have raised more than $5.7 million for 80+ area charities. Dollars raised from this year&squo;s tournament will be announced in the coming weeks.

For more information on the BMW Charity Pro-Am golf tournament call (864) 297-1660 or visit the tournament&squo;s website at