Jimmy Burch has covered professional golf for the Star-Telegram since 1991. He’s received state and national honors for his writing but fills his own scorecard with more bogeys than birdies when he hits the local links.
Officials at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial will give a sponsor’s exemption to next year’s PGA Tour stop in Fort Worth to the men’s individual champion at this week’s Spirit International Amateur Golf Championship. The biennial event, which draws competitors from 20 countries, runs Wednesday through Saturday at Whispering Pines Golf Club in Trinity, Tex. Although the Spirit International is a four-player team competition, the men’s individual champion will be the golfer who is the most strokes under par during the 72 holes of the event. Dates for next year’s Colonial tournament are May 19-25, 2014.
“We want to support amateur golf,” Colonial tournament chairman Bobby Patton said. “Amateur golfers grow up to be professional golfers, and that’s our business. It’s the right thing to do to get involved early.”
Officials at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial raised $6.1 million for local charities through its “Birdies for Charity” program at this year’s tournament, one of the largest totals among events on the 2013 PGA Tour.
The total is part of the tournament’s annual charitable contribution that will be announced in December. The $6.1 million is the largest ever raised during one year by participants in the “Birdies for Charity” program, which began in 2005. Since its inception, the program has generated more than $33 million.
This year’s total was boosted by a matching fund of $200,000 from Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, the tournament’s title sponsor, as well as the 1,381 birdies recorded by participants during tournament week in May.
“It’s thrilling to see the community and charities support our birdies campaign with such enthusiasm,” Colonial tournament chairman Bobby Patton said. “To be one of the top birdies campaigns on tour is testament to the philanthropic nature of our community.”
Fort Worth golf officials will unveil their new, six-hole practice facility during Saturday’s 11 a.m. grand opening at Rockwood Golf Course. The River’s Edge course, a walking-only facility, can be played in three- or six-hole increments. Golfers also can pay an all-day fee of $10 for adults or $6 for juniors.
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and Sal Espino, District 2 council member, are expected to be part of the opening ceremonies at the facility, located at 1851 Jacksboro Highway. The course, built by Colligan Golf Design, was funded with gas well revenues and a donation of $150,000 from the Wadsworth Golf Charities Foundation as part of their “Links Across America” initiative. Total cost of the project, which will be used as a teaching facility by The First Tee of Fort Worth, was $380,000.