Hockey Great Brett Hull, 11 Others Granted Exemptions for 2006 BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs Golf Tournament
NHL superstar and future Hall of Famer Brett Hull was granted an exemption to play in this year’s BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs it was announced today by tournament officials. Hull will join friend, colleague and NHL legend Wayne Gretzky as his amateur playing partner.
Over his 20-season career, Brett Hull tallied 741 goals and 1,391 points, to rank third on the all-time scoring list. He holds the single season scoring record for right wings with 86 goals, won the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league’s Most Valuable Player in 1991, and was awarded the Lady Byng trophy for sportsmanship in 1990. Hull also won the Stanley Cup Championship while a member of the Dallas Stars in 1999 and the Detroit Red Wings in 2002.
Professional golfers Kyle Thompson, Ricky Barnes, Elliott Gealy, Stan Utley, Bryce Molder, David Mobley, Jason Caron, Nick Cassini, P.H. Horgan III, Payton Osborn, and Shawn McCauley were also awarded pro exemptions to participate in this year’s event, which will be played April 27-30, 2006, at The Cliffs Valley, The Cliffs at Walnut Cove and The Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards.
Kyle Thompson, an Easley native who went to the University of South Carolina, is sure to draw a large following. Thompson, who finished second in the 2003 event, finished tied for fifth last year and has scored three top-10 finishes at the BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs.
Former U.S. Amateur Champion (2002) Ricky Barnes is another youngster that is sure to turn some heads. In 2003 he won the Ben Hogan Award, given annually to college’s top golfer, while a senior at Arizona, as well as earned first-team All-American honors. He was also the lowest scoring amateur at the 2003 Masters, finishing 21st after outscoring his playing partner Tiger Woods by seven shots in the opening round.
Elliott Gealy is a 1999 graduate of Clemson University. This is his rookie season on the Nationwide Tour. Gealy competed on the Hooters Tour from 2001-05, posting five tournament victories.
Stan Utley, who splits time between the PGA TOUR and the Nationwide Tour, is best known as a short-game teaching guru to many PGA TOUR players. He tied for third place in the 2002 BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs golf tournament, and has one PGA TOUR victory and three Nationwide Tour wins to his credit. A two-time All-American at Missouri, Utley hosts an annual “Go for the Gold” skins game that benefits a safe house for children.
Bryce Molder was a featured golfer on the PGA TOUR in 2002 where he competed in 22 events, earning one top-10 finish and four, top-25 finishes. The Georgia Tech graduate turned pro in 2001 and scored his best PGA TOUR finish that year with a third-place showing at the Reno-Tahoe Open. His best finish on the Nationwide Tour was a second-place finish at the Jacob’s Creek Open Championship in 2002. Molder was a first team All-American at Georgia Tech joining former alums David Duval, Phil Mickelson and Gary Hallberg as the only four to be so honored. He was named the Jack Nicklaus Player of the Year in 1998 and 2001, was a three-time ACC Player of the Year (1998-2001) and was ACC Rookie of the Year in 1998.
David Mobley is the world’s former No. 1 ranked long-distance driver. He won the 2004 RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship with a drive of 377 yards, and is also a five-time semi-finalist of the event. His personal best long drive: 470 yards.
Jason Caron, who played college golf at Charleston Southern, Nick Cassini, from Atlanta and a University of Georgia graduate, P.H. Horgan III, Payton Osborn, and Shawn McCauley were all recommended by premier sponsors.
The BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs is the only tournament on the Nationwide Tour where amateurs and celebrities are grouped with Nationwide Tour professionals in a three-day better-ball competition. Amateurs, celebrities and pros will 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’s final round at The Cliffs Valley course. Celebrities will play once at each course on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The professional winner of the overall 72-hole event will take home $112,500 from the total purse of $625,000, 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 beneficiaries selected by South Carolina Charities, Inc.
The first five tournaments have raised more than $3 million for area charities.
General Admission tickets for the 2006 BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs can be purchased for $25 through one of the 29 selected charities or by calling (864) 297-1660. Children 14 and under are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Corporate sponsorships and ticket packages that include VIP and Clubhouse tickets can also be purchased by calling (864) 297-1660.
For more information on the BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs golf tournament; sponsorship opportunities, charitable funding or volunteer opportunities, call (864) 297-1660 or visit the tournament’s website at www.bmwcharitygolf.com.