First round of 2009 BMW Charity Pro-Am golf tournament begins in Polk County

Published 5:57 pm Thursday, May 14, 2009

Players will rotate between Bright&squo;s Creek, The Carolina Country Club (Spartanburg, S.C.) and Thornblade Club (Greer, S.C.) during the first three rounds on Thursday through Saturday. The final round on Sunday will be played at Thornblade Club.

All four rounds will be televised live by the Golf Channel.

The BMW Charity Pro-Am is the only tournament on the PGA TOUR&squo;s Nationwide Tour where amateurs and celebrities are grouped with Nationwide Tour professionals in a four-day better-ball competition over three courses.

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Amateurs, celebrities and pros rotate between three courses on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with the 14 lowest scoring pro-amateur/pro-celebrity teams advancing to play Sunday.

The professional winner of the overall 72-hole event will take home $126,000 from the total purse of $700,000, which is one of the largest purses on the Nationwide Tour.

Amateurs and celebrities will compete for individual prizes and cash donations to the charity of their choice out of the 78 tournament beneficiaries selected by South Carolina Charities, Inc. The charities include organizations in Upstate South Carolina and Western North Carolina.

The first eight tournaments have raised $6.7 million for 125+ area charities. Last year&squo;s tournament raised more than $900,000.

The 2009 tournament will benefit several local charities, including Hospice of the Carolina Foothills, FENCE, Thermal Belt Habitat for Humanity, Thermal Belt Outreach and the Tryon Elementary School PTA Playground Committee.

The charities benefiting from this year&squo;s tournament are selling tickets and providing volunteers for the tournament. Tickets are also available at several businesses.

Each of the charities will receive 100 percent of the proceeds raised by selling Patron Credentials, the tournament&squo;s general admission tickets. The tickets grant the holder access to the grounds all four days of the tournament and include complimentary parking and shuttle service.

Nearly 300,000 people have attended the BMW Charity Pro-Am since it was started in 2001. Last year approximately 50,000 people attended the tournament, the most of any year so far.

For more information on the BMW Charity Pro-Am golf tournament visit