Organizers of Saturday’s inaugural 2LiveBeyond Celebrity Golf Tournament at the Grande Dunes Resort Course have finalized their list of celebrity athletes and have decided to allow a limited number of spectators at the event.
Among those joining tournament founders and Grand Strand residents Reggie Sanders and Andre Davis in the event are National Baseball Hall of Famer Eddie Murray, Tennessee Titans safety and 2013 Super Bowl champion Bernard Pollard and Cleveland Browns quarterback Tyler Thigpen.
Davis, a nine-year NFL wide receiver and kick returner, said the event has essentially sold out of playing spots with 27 foursomes sold at $1,500 per player or $5,000 per team, though a late entry might be considered.
“We’re extremely pleased how things have gone,” Davis said. “To know in year one we’ve practically sold out our teams, we’ve got some great sponsors and we’ve got some great volunteers, at this point it’s about us executing, but it’s gone above and beyond what we thought we’d be able to do and accomplish.”
Only 250 general spectator tickets and 250 additional VIP tickets are available for the golf tournament. Spectator tickets are $25 and include a meet and greet, and a $100 VIP ticket includes the meet and greet, food and non-alcoholic drinks provided by Planet Hollywood, and a $20 PGA Tour Superstore gift card for the first 200 purchased.
“We’re trying to get the public involved,” Davis said. “This is giving them an opportunity to get around the athletes and get involved in the event and in donating to the causes.”
General admission and VIP tickets are also available for an affiliated Friday night concert and pairings party at the House of Blues featuring the award-winning contemporary Christian band Shane and Shane. A local band consisting of musicians from Beach Church and Christ United Methodist will be the opening act.
Tickets to the concert are approximately $20 and available at livenation.com, hob.com and 2LiveBeyond.com. Tickets to the pre-concert pairings party that begins at 5:30 p.m. and includes live and silent auctions, hors d’oeuvres and drinks are approximately $115 and also include the concert.
Also on Friday, celebrities will take part in a pair of activities that are open to the public and free. They’ll play in a Miracle League game with special needs children from 9:30-11 a.m., and make an appearance at PGA Tour Superstore in Myrtle Beach from 11:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
Former Major League Baseball players expected to participate in the tournament and most festivities in addition to Sanders, a 17-year MLB outfielder, include Steve Finley, Jose Guzman, Rick Ankiel, Tony Womack, Marlon Anderson, Jim Perry and Orlando Hudson.
Others are Junior Spivey, Chad Tracy, Bobby Bolin, Desi Relaford, Kurt Seibert, Bobby Tolan, Bill Landrum, Jerry Martin, Steve Ratzer, Donald Prince, Jim Fairey, Lloyd Merritt and Dennis Kinney.
Former NFL players committed include Ruvell Martin, Andra Davis, Matt Turk, Olindo Mare, Corwin Anthony and Kennard McGuire, and NFL assistant coach Larry Kirksey.
Soccer player Michael Chabala and LPGA teaching pro and reigning Mrs. South Carolina Meredith Kirk of Murrells Inlet are also participating.
A few of the confirmed 30-plus celebrities are non-golfing participants, including former NFL receiver David Patten and running back Samkon Gado.
Some of the bigger baseball names who had initially committed, including Bobby Bonilla, Vince Coleman, Jose Cruz Jr., Kenny Lofton, Ken Griffey Sr. and Mike Sweeney, have withdrawn from the event, generally citing scheduling conflicts.
The tournament has a 10 a.m. shotgun start followed by a barbecue and awards presentation.
Spectators will be limited to the four holes nearest to the clubhouse. “When we first started we wanted to make it a very exclusive event and make it private for the players to enjoy their time with the athletes, but we also said we do want to have this open to the public,” Davis said. “For the other 14 holes the paying players will have the exclusive time to have the one-on-one with the athletes.”
Benefiting charities are The Reggie Sanders Foundation, which focuses on autistic and special needs children, Africa New Life Ministries, which assists needy children in Rwanda, and the Grand Strand Miracle Leagues. A local charity will be selected every year and the Miracle Leagues has been selected for 2014.
The tournament has received corporate support from Digity Media, House of Blues, Grande Dunes, PGA Tour Superstore, the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association, Myrtle Beach Automotive, food and beverage vendors, and Pyle Financial Services – owner Scott Pyle is the tournament director.
More information and tickets are available at www.2livebeyond.com or by calling Pyle’s offices at 843-945-4480.
Chants sign a pair
Coastal Carolina men’s golf coach Kevin McPherson has signed a pair of players to National Letters of Intent to bolster the Chanticleer program for the 2014-2015 season.
Vinnie Murphy of Edgewood, Wash., and Puyallup Senior High School and Harrison Frye of Gastonia, N.C., and Forestview High will become Chants in a couple months.
Murphy won the Phil Mickelson Award as the 2014 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II Freshman of the Year after helping South Mountain win the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference (ACCAC) title.
He posted a 70.9 scoring average that included a 4-under-par 72-68–140 in winning the Paradise Valley Invitational. He was also a runner-up three times and had seven top-10 finishes in nine events while managing a 3.87 grade-point average.
At Puyallup High, Murphy was a three-time South Puget Sound League 4A medalist. He’ll enter CCU as a sophomore with three years of eligibility remaining.
Frye helped his high school win the North Carolina 3A State Championship this past season, placing fourth individually with a 72-73–145. He earned his conference golfer of the year award, posting a stroke average of 70.5 to help Forestview earn its 10th consecutive conference team championship.
Last fall, he took medalist honors in back-to-back events, winning the American Junior Golf Association Boys Senior Championship and Future Collegians World Tour at Mystic Dunes. He was named to the 2013 N.C. Boys’ All-State Golf Team (third team) by the Tarheel Youth Golf Association and the Carolinas Golf Association.
HJGT staging event
The Hurricane Junior Golf Tour is again making multiple stops on the Grand Strand, beginning with the June 21-22 36-hole Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday Junior Challenge at Wicked Stick Golf Links.
The entry deadline is 11:59 p.m. Wednesday. The entry fee is $185 for HJGT members and $215 for non-members, and tee times begin at 8 a.m. each day.
There are both boys and girls divisions for ages 11-14 and 15-18. At stake are performance points for the American Junior Golf Association, S.C. Junior Golf Association, Tarheel Youth Golf Association, Junior Golf Scoreboard rankings and HJGT year-end honors.
The tournament is the first of three HJGT events on the Strand this summer. The tour returns Aug. 9-10 for the Hurricane Tour Shop Series Invitational at the International Club of Myrtle Beach in Murrells Inlet, and Sept. 27-28 for a Hurricane Tour major championship at Myrtle Beach National’s West Course.
Call 904-379-2696 or visit hjgt.org for more information.
College tour on way
The Hurricane College Golf Tour, for men and women ages 17-23, is making its first South Carolina stop of 2014 with the 36-hole Charleston Collegiate Challenge on June 24 at the Links at Stono Ferry outside Charleston.
The tour’s next stop in the state will be at the Myrtle Beach Collegiate Open on July 16 at the International Club of Myrtle Beach in Murrells Inlet.
Events are 36 holes in one day and the cost is $179 per player, though players who have played on the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour but have yet to play on the college tour can receive a $50 discount. The registration deadline is July 8.
There are 28 events in 11 states during the 2014 season, and the tour is meant to give college players competitive events throughout the summer. Players interested in the tour can call 904-379-2697 or visit http://collegiate.hurricanetour.com.
Sole school recognized
The Mel Sole Golf School has received TripAdvisor's Certificate of Excellence award for 2014. It’s the third consecutive year the Grand Strand school has won the honor, which signifies consistently earned outstanding feedback from customers.
School sites are Pawleys Plantation and Grande Dunes Resort Course. The academy is owned and operated by South Africa native and Master Professional Mel Sole.