Ken Duke Wins 2006 BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs Golf Tournament
Thirty-three thousand (33,000) fans witnessed professional Ken Duke win the sixth-annual BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs golf tournament today. The win was the first of Duke’s career, although the Hope, Arkansas-native has recorded two second-place finishes on the Nationwide Tour (2003 Chitimacha Louisiana Open; 2005 Canadian PGA Championship). Duke, a 1992 graduate of Henderson State (Ark.) University, finished the tournament at -13 under par (69, 68, 68, 68) beating Jess Daley by one stroke.
The win earned Duke $112,500, skyrocketing him up the Nationwide Tour money list from 20th place to fifth place. Duke has earned a total of $152,040 so far this year and is well on his way to 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 2007. Duke was in the second to last group to tee off on Sunday. He had to wait 15 minutes with his wife, Michelle, and two young daughters, Ashleigh and Lauren, for Daley to finish before being crowned champion.
Brook Cely of BMW Manufacturing Co. in Spartanburg and his professional partner Steve Collins won the Pro-Am portion of the tournament at -38 under par. Country music singer Pat Green and his professional partner Matt Weibring were the best finishing pro-celebrity team at -30 under par.
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 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 play once at each course on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The professional winner of the overall 72-hole event takes home $112,500 from the total purse of $625,000, which is one of the largest purses on the Nationwide Tour. 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 five tournaments have raised more than $3 million for area charities. The amount raised from this year’s tournament will be announced in the coming weeks.
Celebrities that participated in this year’s tournament included: Kevin Costner, John Elway, Catherine Bell, Dhani Jones, Wayne and Janet Gretzky, Brett Hull, Javier Colon, Cheech Marin, John and Lisa O’Hurley, George Rogers, Ben Wright, Jennifer Mills, Pat Green, long-drive champion Sean “The Beast” Fister, and actor and Spartanburg native Fred Griffith. Famed international golfer and Grand Slam winner Gary Player also participated.
The 29 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; Compass of Carolina; Fellowship of Christian Athletes; Foothills Family Resources; Hands on Greenville; Hidden Treasure; Mountain Area Child and Family Center; National Christian College Athletic Association; North Greenville University; North Greenville Food Crisis Ministry; Partners for a Healthy Community, Inc.; Phillis Wheatley Association; Pickens County Sheriff’s Scholarship Foundation; Pickens County YMCA; Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Carolinas; St. Joseph’s School; The Charles Lea Center; The Eblen Charities; The First Tee; The Walker Foundation; United Ministries; 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.