BRASWELL COLUMN: Top golfers showcased at tourneys
You know golf season has arrived when the Hootie at Bulls Bay and the Azalea Invitational at the Country Club of Charleston pop up on your calendar.
A number of the country's top collegiate golf programs, including two-time defending NCAA champion Augusta State, will begin competing today in the Hootie tournament, a 54-hole event running through Tuesday that in years has showcased such current PGA Tour talents as Dustin Johnson of Coastal Carolina, Webb Simpson of Wake Forest and J.B. Holmes of Kentucky.
College of Charleston, South Carolina and Wofford are among the 15 teams participating in this year's event, joining Augusta State, defending champion LSU, No. 2-ranked Auburn, North Carolina, N.C. State, Wake Forest, Virginia, Maryland, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Mississippi and Texas A&M. Fifteen of the 75 golfers are ranked in the top 100 in the country.
Cheng-Tsung Pan, who broke the tournament record by three shots last year, won't be back to defend his title in the Azalea Invitational, which will be played Thursday-Sunday at the Country Club of Charleston, but the field will include Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.
Pan, from Chinese Taipei, shot 19-under-par last year to beat J.T. Griffin. Pan, now a freshman at Washington, has a college conflict that will prevent him from playing.
The Azalea field includes golfers from 22 states and 10 foreign countries, including seven of the top 10 juniors in the country. The junior contingent includes Cody Proveaux of Leesville, who was the AJGA Rolex Player of the year in 2011 and has committed to Clemson, as well as Matthew NeSmith of North Augusta, who has signed with South Carolina. Three-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Nathan Smith also will be in the 118-player field.
The National Golf Course Owners Association recently honored Terry Sedalik with its Champions Award in recognition of service to course owners, including achievements in the areas of property tax, water regulation and economic impact. Sedalik is executive director of the South Carolina Golf Course Owners Association and the Charleston Golf Course Owners Association.
The Plantation Course at Edisto will hold its third annual Lowcountry Classic High School Invitational next Saturday and Sunday. Twenty teams will compete in the 36-hole event that is open to the public. Call (843) 869-1111.
Bob Rickman of North Augusta and Bob Varn of Orangeburg won the S.C. Golf Association Senior Four-Ball tournament at Callawassie Golf Club with a two-round total of 135. Mike Weiner of Kiawah Island and Gene Spencer of Blythewood tied for second at 136.
--Saturday: Skylla Engineering golf tournament to benefit Semper Fi Fund, Wescott Plantation, visit Fundraising,SkyllaEng.com.
--April 17: 7th annual RiverDogs Tournament, Wild Dunes Resort, $500 per four-player team, $125 individual, contact Melissa at (843) 723-7241 or visit RileyParkEvents.com.
-- April 19: St. Andrew's Parks and Playground tournament to enable low-income children to attend summer camps, play youth sports and participate in other activities, $65 per player, call (843) 763-4360 or visit standrewsparks.com.
--April 21: Summerville Elk's Lodge Tournament, Berkeley Country Club, contact Bob Koscianski at (843) 469-3570 or Frank Polkow at (843) 696-8057.
--May 8: Spirit of Caring Tournament to provide financial assistance for students entering nursing profession, Daniel Island Club, $1,600 per team, registration deadline is April 15, contact Joan Wherley at (843) 724-2193.
--May 10: Kiwanis Club of Moncks Corner tournament, Berkeley Country Club, visit MoncksCornerKiwanis.org or call Lynn Smith at (843) 899-1255 or (843) 312-0621.
--May 15: Fifth annual Commonwealth Cares Classic to benefit Palmetto Medical Initiative for providing sustainable, quality health care to those in need, Ralston Creek-Daniel Island Club, $300 per player or $1,200 per team (teams registering by April 1 can sign up for $1,000), visit CommonwealthCares.org or call (843) 884-4545.