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BMW Pro-Am Revs Up Web.com Tour with Future Expansion

The Web.com Tour formed in 1990 as the developmental league for the PGA Tour. The system is working well with the PGA tournament in Texas this week marking the 500th win for former Web.com Tour players. Greenville hosts the only Web.com Tour event to pair celebrity golfers with their players and they just agreed to an extension of five more years, including expanded television coverage. Michael Arnaud won the BMW Pro-Am on Sunday May 20 by five shots, the first ever Web.com Tour win for the 36-year old looking for a victory to turbocharge his quest for the PGA Tour.

A rainy weather pattern over South Carolina couldn’t dampen the 2018 BMW Pro-Am presented by the Synnex Corporation. The Web.com Tour officials played it safe and moved up the daily tee times in order to stay ahead of afternoon showers. Despite a couple of rain delays mid-day on Friday at the Cliffs Valley Course and the Furman University course, the weather was surprisingly clear and pleasant. Pro golfers really like to aim for the flags when the greens are receptive after rain, and this weekend was no exception.

Three golf courses are used in rotation at the BMW Pro-Am with the Thornblade Club hosting the final round of play on Sunday for pros only to decide who takes home the first place pay day of $126,000. Michael Arnaud played at Thornblade on Friday and posted a score of 60 tying their course record, and when he returned to play Thornblade on Sunday he backed that up with a score of 63, which is 8-under par. Arnaud already has a nickname on tour as The BMW, since they claim he is the Ultimate Driving Machine, and now he has the custom BMW steering wheel trophy to prove it.

“There’s a huge relief taken off my shoulders,” said Arnaud. “Just to know that I’ve accomplished this and won out here. It validates the years and the hard work I’ve put in.” The win moves Arnaud to No. 13 on the Web.com Tour money list and grants him full status for the remainder of the season. Arnaud was actually the last player in the field this week, playing as an alternate after another player withdrew. His win is exactly the kind of story that bolsters the confidence of hopeful golf pros everywhere.

Spectators watching this tournament get a little more bang for their buck than simply witnessing the pros play golf at a high level, they also get to see celebrities try their best to keep up. Matt Hamilton became one of the most entertaining celebs to watch this year when he continually produced his Olympic gold medal from the USA curling team, using it as ball marker on the putting green. Other celebrities including Southern Charm star Shep Rose and John O’Hurley from Seinfeld are always willing to stop and make a photo with appreciative fans.

The ripple effects from BMW manufacturing selecting the upstate 25 years ago continue in many forms, including this golf tournament that was founded in 2001. Raising money for local charities is the year long goal of this event and they should surpass $13 million in philanthropy after the 2018 tournament. The tournament has a proven fan base with 40,000-spectators annually, and with the five-year contract extension the Golf Channel is looking to expand its coverage from broadcasting exclusively from Thornblade to including all three tournament courses.
New for 2018, the inaugural celebrity softball game was held on Thursday night at Flour Field in the West End of Greenville. The format allows for people to gather at the first-class facility used by

The Greenville Drive minor league baseball team and watch celebrities compete away from any pressure of the golf course. The traditional concert series on Friday night saw country singer Phil Vassar play at the Bons Secours Arena, giving locals something fun to do after the golf day was complete. The tournament dates are set for June 3 – 9, 2019 and it’s always interesting to wait and see which celebrities will be listed to play next year.

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at LowcountryOutdoors.com

Jeff Dennis, Contributor (359 Posts)

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at www.LowcountryOutdoors.com